Definition of sophist in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsäfəst/


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.



Pronunciation: /səˈfistik/
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.


Pronunciation: /səˈfistikəl/
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.


Pronunciation: /səˈfistik(ə)lē/
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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: soph·ist

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