from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who has only superficial knowledge; a pretender to profound or scientific knowledge; a smatterer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who knows many things superficially; a pretender to science; a smatterer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One who exhibits only superficial knowledge; a self-proclaimed expert with little real understanding.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin sciolus, diminutive of Latin scius ("knowing"), from sciō ("I know"). It first appears in English at the beginning of the 17th century.


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  • Here above all was silence from all our great orator took delight in, from formidable men, from moral indignation, from the 'sciolist' who 'is never sad,' from all in modern life that would destroy the arts; and here, to take a thought from another playwright of our school, he could love Time as only women and great artists do and need never sell it.

    Synge and the Ireland of His Time 1897

  • Notwithstanding, for my money you write both extremely well and at an appropriately level for your subject matter, at a good level for the sciolist (me, your reader, not you).

    Pat Yourselves on the Back 2007

  • And yet I lately met a sciolist who pompously announced to me this philological absurdity as a discovery of his own.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night 2006

  • The hero of the epic is at once sciolist and simpleton, ‘knowing many things, but knowing them all badly’.

    Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, and Homerica 2007

  • We do not read of the Son of God that He sowed or ploughed, wove or digged; nor did any other of the mechanic arts befit the divine wisdom incarnate except to trace letters in writing, that every gentleman and sciolist may know that fingers are given by God to men for the task of writing rather than for war.

    The Love of Books : The Philobiblon of Richard de Bury 2007

  • The third is the hygienic sciolist, who drinks on principle poor “Gladstone” and thin French wines, cheap and nasty; and the survivor is the man who enjoys a quantum suff. of humming Scotch and Burton ales, sherry, Madeira, and port, with a modicum of cognac.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo 2003

  • The smooth sciolist Stellato rallied his weak wits and uttered a cry of wonder at such flagitious heresy.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864 Various

  • The hero of the epic is at once sciolist and simpleton, 'knowing many things, but knowing them all badly'.

    Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica Hesiod

  • It is a well-attested fact, especially since the sacred precincts of established truth have been raided by every puerile pedant and sciolist who can handle a pen, that any absurdity whatever, so long as it is clad "in the lion's skin" and no matter how loudly it brays, has some fatal claim upon the rambling credulity of the multitude.

    The Doctor's Daughter [pseud.] Vera

  • If he were noticed, it was only to be traduced as a sciolist, (imperitus dialecticæ et aliarum bonarum artium, says Dr. Reynolds,) and to be exposed for imagined lapses in scholarship in an age when for a writer not to be a scholar, was like

    Discovery of Witches The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster Thomas Potts


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  • a false pretender to knowledge

    February 17, 2007

  • My friend's cousin works for Apple and he told me all about how the Iphone works!! But I can't tell you because Steve Jobs will sue me. Man it sucks knowing stuff when you can't share it. But trust me, I know. And it's way awesome. My brother let me use his new PalmPillot (that's not supposed to come out until April) and it's actually better than the Iphone. But I can't tell you why.

    February 17, 2007

  • an intellectual fake, a person who affects erudition

    February 26, 2007

  • That is Don Augustino Moreto, a young poet sufficiently of nature's mint and coinage to pass current, if flatterers and sciolists had not debased him into a mere coxcomb by their misplaced admiration.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 7 ch. 13

    October 2, 2008

  • You may well disparage the nihilist

    But I rank him less than the vilest.

    I prefer abnegation

    To smug affectation -

    The insufferable sin of the sciolist.

    September 17, 2015

  • But is it some kind of socialist

    Who simply failed to make my politically kosher list?

    Oh read it and weep!

    Gnash your teeth for mission creep!

    Meaning-wise we've been usurped by an encroachalist.

    September 17, 2015

  • Who answers the socialist call
    Can remain a sciolist, withal,
    Supplying the peasantry
    With generous pedantry -
    A man of the people and know-it-all.

    September 17, 2015