Share this entry

Share this page

sophist

Syllabification: soph·ist
Pronunciation: /ˈsäfist
 
/

Definition of sophist in English:

noun

1A paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in ancient Greece, associated in popular thought with moral skepticism and specious reasoning.
Example sentences
  • His mistress Aspasia and the sophist Anaxagoras were perhaps prosecuted.
  • Twenty-four years earlier, Aristophanes in his play Clouds had lampooned Socrates as a sophist who taught his pupils to scorn parental authority and subvert civic justice for their own gains.
  • Dion Chrysostom, Herodes Atticus, Aristides, Lucian, and Philostratus the Elder belong to the flourishing period of this second school of sophists, a period which extends over the entire second century.
1.1A person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments.
Example sentences
  • Sept. 11 leaves the ‘moral equivalency’ muddlers exposed as sophists and charlatans.
  • A few of the usual postmodern sophists offered up a few of the usual postmodern sophistries about perfect freedom and individual will.
  • Sure enough, bylined sophists hit the Internet for descriptions of the machine.

Origin

mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek sophistēs, from sophizesthai 'devise, become wise', from sophos 'wise'.

Derivatives

sophistic

1
Pronunciation: /səˈfistik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • Thinking is a big factor, be it sophistic or plainly dark.
  • One scream and your sophistic notions crumble to dust.
  • The traditional quality of Calliclean ‘natural justice’ is worth emphasising, since Callicles is often read as a representative of the sophistic movement and their subversive ‘modern’ ideas.

sophistical

2
Pronunciation: /səˈfistikəl/
adjective
Example sentences
  • But I was being sophistical when I responded to their claims that our government is our enemy with that other cliché, you are the government.
  • This is the truly disturbing and important story, replete with ironies and sophistical logic.
  • The newspapers have at their disposal all manner of sophistical ways around this.

sophistically

3
Pronunciation: /səˈfistik(ə)lē/
adverb
Example sentences
  • The gravest of them is, to argue sophistically, to suppress facts or arguments, to misstate the elements of the case, or misrepresent the opposite opinion.

Definition of sophist in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunt
Pronunciation: dʒɔːnt
noun
a short excursion or journey made for pleasure