Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

SCIOLIST

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

SCIOLIST

Postby Slava » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:41 am

The GW for today:

Dr. Goodword wrote:• sciolist •

Pronunciation: sI-ê-list • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Someone with superficial knowledge who pretends to be an expert on some subject.

Notes: The attitude itself is sciolism and anyone who is possessed of it is sciolistic or sciolous. These adjectives pave the way for two adverbs, as someone who talks sciolistically or pontificates sciously. Look out for the silent C, a phenomenon of English not uncommon but not common, either.

In Play: You will bump into two types of sciolists in your trek across life. You will meet real ones: "Television talk shows are a popular venue for sciolists of every ilk." Some, however, are real experts whose expertise we simply do not want to hear: "Writers, with few exceptions, think that all critics who do not praise their work are sciolists."

Word History: Today's word is a remake of Late Latin sciolus "a smatterer", a diminutive of Latin scius "knowing", from scire "to know". This word is akin to Latin scientia "knowledge, skill, expertise", from the same root. The original root *skei- meant "to split, separate". It kept that meaning in Latin scindere and Greek schizein "to split". The sense of separation remained in the Germanic languages and turns up in words like English shed. The connection with knowledge is the ability to split and separate ideas, that is, to analyze things. (Today's word is the result of two separate requests from G. N. Bludworth and Apoclima of the Alpha Agora, both genuine, not sciolistic, logophiles.)
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4696
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: SCIOLIST

Postby Slava » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:48 am

The pronunciation bit for this word demonstrates why I do not much approve of sans-serif fonts. Just what does that second letter indicate? A bold 'l' or a capital "I"? As I know the word, I know the meaning, but if I didn't already know, what good would it be?

A previous posting of this word is here, for what it's worth.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4696
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: SCIOLIST

Postby MTC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:11 am

The weighty issue of sans-serif fonts aside, "sciolist" is forever linked through assonance and association with the word "solecist:"

sol·e·cism (sl-szm, sl-)
n.
1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction.
2. A violation of etiquette.
3. An impropriety, mistake, or incongruity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikizein, to speak incorrectly, from soloikos, speaking incorrectly, after Soloi (Soli), an Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect regarded as substandard was spoken.]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sole·cist n.
sole·cistic adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved

It's quite easy and natural to imagine a sciolist committing a solecism, thereby becoming a solecist. This is one way of remembering word meanings.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: SCIOLIST

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:39 pm

When I changed my phonetic pronunciation symbols a while back to avoid just such confusion, I forgot to replace the spelling in the words already copied to the Agora. I just did a universal find and replace in the database. I changed [I] to [ai] and [ey] to [ay].
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3571
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: SCIOLIST

Postby eberntson » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:00 am

As a lifelong philomath, I'm often in danger of being perceived as a "sciolist" when my true goal is to be just conversational on all subjects.
EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
--R. Burns
User avatar
eberntson
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 356
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:48 am
Location: Boston, Mass

Re: SCIOLIST

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:20 am

I spent my professional career as a systems engineer. The tongue in cheek definition of that profession is "a person who doesn't know much about anything but who knows something about everything." This knowledge has kept electrical engineers from strangling mechanical engineers when they are arguing over the required environment of an electronic system.

Am I a sciolist? If so, I am in good company. René Descartes has been called a sciolist.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: SCIOLIST

Postby MTC » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:48 am

A passion to know about the world requires no apology. Posturing as an expert without expertise does.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests