Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4558
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:53 pm

• sciolist •

Pronunciation: sai-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.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5333
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Postby Slava » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:26 pm

Whlst at times we can be rather simple in our prose, I don't think I've come across a sciolist on the Agora. Except for the occasional spammer, that is, and they, being non-human, don't count, do they?
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests