from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. One skilled in elaborate and devious argumentation.
- n. A scholar or thinker.
- n. Any of a group of professional fifth-century B.C. Greek philosophers and teachers who speculated on theology, metaphysics, and the sciences, and who were later characterized by Plato as superficial manipulators of rhetoric and dialectic.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. One of a class of teachers of rhetoric, philosophy, and politics in ancient Greece, especially one who used fallacious but plausible reasoning.
- n. One who is captious, fallacious, or deceptive in argument.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. One of a class of men who taught eloquence, philosophy, and politics in ancient Greece; especially, one of those who, by their fallacious but plausible reasoning, puzzled inquirers after truth, weakened the faith of the people, and drew upon themselves general hatred and contempt.
- n. Hence, an impostor in argument; a captious or fallacious reasoner.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One who is skilled or versed in a thing; a specialist.
- n. An ancient Greek philosophic and rhetorical teacher who took pay for teaching virtue, the management of a household or the government of a state, and all that pertains to wise action or speech.
- n. Hence A captious or fallacious reasoner; a quibbler.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any of a group of Greek philosophers and teachers in the 5th century BC who speculated on a wide range of subjects
- n. someone whose reasoning is subtle and often specious
Middle English sophiste, from Latin sophista, from Greek sophistēs, from sophizesthai, to become wise, from sophos, clever.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sophista, also sophistes, from Ancient Greek σοφιστής ("pursuer of wisdom"), from σοφίζεσθαι ("become wise"). (Wiktionary)