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Jun 17, 2019
This week’s theme
People with multiple eponyms coined after them

This week’s words
Socratic irony

Socratic irony
Image: me.me

Previous week’s theme
People who have had multiple words coined after them
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with Anu Garg

Last week we featured five eponyms -- words coined after people, real or fictional. People we picked were Midas, Socrates, Philip II of Macedon, Achilles, and Hermes. There are hundreds of people who have words coined after them, but we picked these five because they have a special distinction -- they have had multiple words coined after their names. This week we’ll see another word that the people we met last week have given us.

Socratic irony

(suh-KRAT-ik EYE-ruh-nee)

noun: A profession of ignorance in a discussion in order to elicit clarity on a topic and expose misconception held by another.

After Greek philosopher Socrates (470?-399 BCE) who employed this method. Earliest documented use: 1721.

“On two occasions, two former members of our federal government resorted to Socratic irony in dealing with me regarding the Electric Map. Our former US Representative ‘simulated ignorance’ when confronted with the issue.”
John Longanecker; Electric Map Impressive; Gettysburg Times (Pennsylvania); Jun 10, 2016.

See more usage examples of Socratic irony in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

The ultimate sense of security will be when we come to recognize that we are all part of one human race. Our primary allegiance is to the human race and not to one particular color or border. I think the sooner we renounce the sanctity of these many identities and try to identify ourselves with the human race the sooner we will get a better world and a safer world. -Mohamed ElBaradei, diplomat, Nobel laureate (b. 17 Jun 1942)

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