from The Century Dictionary.

  • To maintain by a fallacious argument or sophistry.
  • noun A man of learning; a teacher; specifically, a professional teacher of philosophy; a sophist.
  • noun A sophist; a quibbler; a subtle and fallacious reasoner.
  • noun In English universities, a student advanced beyond the first year of his residence, now generally called a soph.

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

  • noun obsolete A sophist. See sophist.
  • noun (Eng. Univ.) A student who is advanced beyond the first year of his residence.
  • transitive verb obsolete To maintain by sophistry, or by a fallacious argument.

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

  • noun a sophist


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • In the third year of his residence the student of the liberal arts was allowed to become a "sophister," and to take part in logical disputations.

    The Love of Books: the Philobiblon of Richard de Bury

  • I remember when you were a boy you wished to make your fine new whip a present to old Aunt Peggy, merely because she admired it; and now, with like unreflecting and inappropriate liberality, you would resign your beloved to a smoke-dried young sophister, who cares not one of the hairs which it is his occupation to split, for all the daughters of Eve.


  • There the Latinist and sophister and every unlearned writer tries the fitness of his pen, a practice that we have frequently seen injuring the usefulness and value of the most beautiful books.

    The Love of Books : The Philobiblon of Richard de Bury

  • Julian the Apostate was so taken with an oration of Libanius, the sophister, that, as he confesseth, he could not be quiet till he had read it all out.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • And I built in Urbs in Rure, for minne elskede, my shiny brows, under astrolobe from my upservatory, an erd-closet with showne ejector wherewithin to be squatquit in most covenience from her sabbath needs, when open noise should stilled be: did not I festfix with mortarboard my unniversiries, wholly rational and gottalike, sophister agen sorefister, life sizars all?

    Finnegans Wake

  • And Gorgias the sophister, when a swallow muted upon him, looked upon her and said,


  • For if, in writing against Antidorus or Bion the sophister, he had made mention of laws, policy, order, and justice, might not either of them have said to him, as Electra did to her mad brother

    Essays and Miscellanies

  • A sophister I will forbid to sit by a sophister, and one poet by another;

    Essays and Miscellanies

  • A sophister I will forbid to sit by a sophister, and one poet by another;


  • When Philip had ended, I hindered the sophister from returning an answer to the discourse, and said: Let us rather inquire,



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  • One who makes use of fallacious arguments; a specious reasoner. A sophist.

    May 13, 2008