Word of the Week

sciolistn.
[‘ A person whose knowledge is only superficial, esp. one who makes much of it; a pretender to learning.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈsʌɪəlɪst/,  U.S. /ˈsaɪələst/
Etymology: <  post-classical Latin sciolus (see sciolous adj.) + -ist suffix. Compare sciolus n.
 depreciative.
 A person whose knowledge is only superficial, esp. one who makes much of it; a pretender to learning.

1612  A. Hopton Concordancy of Yeares sig. A8v_ (note) , All whose workes fairly written..were, by religious pretending Sciolists, damn’d as diuelish.
1656  T. Blount Glossographia To Rdr. sig. A4, Every..homebred Sciolist being at liberty..to coyn and innovate new Words.
1705  W. Lewis tr. E. Herbert Antient Relig. Gentiles x. 131 But the inquisitive Sciolist..will endeavour to find out second Causes for those things which proceed directly and solely from the most wise Counsel of God.
1778  V. Knox Ess. I. xvi. 107 Contemptible sciolists, who called themselves theatrical critics.
1817  S. T. Coleridge Biographia Literaria I. iii. 58 In proportion as a still greater diffusion of literature shall produce an increase of sciolists.
1880  A. C. Swinburne Study of Shakespeare 18 The last resource of an empiric, the last refuge of a sciolist.
1939 Sewanee Rev. 47 112 Non-Shakespearean sciolists put the burden of proof that William Shakespeare wrote the plays on the shoulders of acknowledged Shakespeareans.
1973 Financial Times 5 June 20/5 Any identification of the Smithian system with this point of view is a sure sign of the sciolist or the charlatan.
1991  I. Sinclair Downriver(1995) iv. 93 A sciolist, call him Sonny Jaques, with a gold stud earring, and a doctorate in Romance Languages.
Derivatives
 scioˈlistic adj. that is a sciolist; characteristic of a sciolist.

1830  S. Wells Hist. Drainage Great Level of Fens I. viii. 147 Those navigation laws, which more degenerate legislators and sciolistic quacks have in modern times dared to abrogate.
1870  J. R. Lowell Among my Bks. 2nd Ser. 298 Sciolistic theorizing and dogmatism.
2004  W. F. Buckley Miles Gone By ii. 107 Another reason for giving up Firing Line is the progressive exasperation one feels over sciolistic preparation and exegesis.
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One thought on “Word of the Week

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