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sophist

[sof-ist] /ˈsɒf ɪst/
noun
1.
(often initial capital letter) Greek History.
  1. any of a class of professional teachers in ancient Greece who gave instruction in various fields, as in general culture, rhetoric, politics, or disputation.
  2. a person belonging to this class at a later period who, while professing to teach skill in reasoning, concerned himself with ingenuity and specious effectiveness rather than soundness of argument.
2.
a person who reasons adroitly and speciously rather than soundly.
3.
a philosopher.
Origin
1535-1545
1535-45; < Latin sophista < Greek sophistḗs sage, derivative of sophízesthai
Related forms
antisophist, noun, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for sophist
  • This view was first recorded with the presocratic sophist gorgias.
British Dictionary definitions for sophist

sophist

/ˈsɒfɪst/
noun
1.
(often capital) one of the pre-Socratic philosophers who were itinerant professional teachers of oratory and argument and who were prepared to enter into debate on any matter however specious
2.
a person who uses clever or quibbling arguments that are fundamentally unsound
Word Origin
C16: from Latin sophista, from Greek sophistēs a wise man, from sophizesthai to act craftily
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for sophist
sophist
1542, earlier sophister (c.1380), from L. sophista, sophistes, from Gk. sophistes, from sophizesthai "to become wise or learned," from sophos "wise, clever," of unknown origin. Gk. sophistes came to mean "one who gives intellectual instruction for pay," and, contrasted with "philosopher," it became a term of contempt. Ancient sophists were famous for their clever, specious arguments.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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