|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|
|[C16: from Latin sophista, from Greek sophistēs a wise man, from sophizesthai to act craftily]|
Ancient Greek teachers who were accused by some of their contemporaries (including Plato) of being more interested in winning arguments through crafty rhetoric than in pursuing truth.
Note: By extension, a “sophist” is someone who engages in persuasive but false arguments.