Printable Version
Pronunciation: mor-rê-sahf Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A learned fool, a foolish pedant, someone who pretends to know more than he or she does know. 2. A foolish pedant, a wise jester, sapient fool, someone who pretends to know less than he really does.

Notes: This rarely used word is abandoning us just when we have a plethora of morosophs. We might consider comics like Bill Maher and Steven Colbert morosophs in the second sense, since they make (foolish) fun of serious topics. If you ever need an extra syllable, you may use the term morosophist. The practice of learned foolishness goes by the name of morosophy.

In Play: The first sense of today's Good Word used to be heard in sentences like: "Ray Harvard is a morosoph who keeps rambling on as though he knows everything about everything without realizing the obvious errors he makes." The second sense appeared in expressions like this: "Don't be fooled by Gene Poole's jokes; the man always knows what he's joking about."

Word History: Morosoph is French morosophe minus the final E. French apparently borrowed it from Greek morosophos "sapient fool; foolish pedant". The Greek word is composed of moro- "dull, sluggish" + sophos "smart". The neuter singular of moros is moron. Well, you know what that word means. How Greek acquired this word is anyone's guess. The same is true of sophos. There is neither hide nor hair of it in any other Indo-European language. (It is only appropriate that today's Good Word has deeply mysterious origins for it was recommended by the equally mysterious Grogie of the Agora, long-time contributor of the most arcane Good Words.)

Dr. Goodword,

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