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A.Word.A.Day--sciolist

Pronunciation RealAudio

sciolist (SAI-uh-list) noun

One who engages in pretentious display of superficial knowledge.

[From Late Latin sciolus (smatterer), diminutive of Latin scius (knowing), from scire (to know). Another example of the similar kind of word formation is the name of the bird oriole which is derived from the diminutive form of Latin aureus (golden).]

"Never was so brilliant a lecture-room as his evening banqueting-hall; highly connected students from Rome mixed with the sharp-witted provincial of Greece or Asia Minor; and the flippant sciolist, and the nondescript visitor, half philosopher, half tramp, met with a reception, courteous always, but suitable to his deserts."
John Henry Newman; The Idea Of A University, University Life At Athens; 1854.

"On the other hand, judged strictly by the standard of his own time, (Francis) Bacon's ignorance of the progress which science had up to that time made is only to be equalled by his insolence toward men in comparison with whom he was the merest sciolist."
Thomas H. Huxley; Harvey Discovers The Circulation Of The Blood; History of the World.

This week's theme: words to describe people.

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Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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