• philomathy •
fi-lah-mê-thee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass
Meaning: The love of learning.
Notes: It is amazing that this word, dating back to the end of the 16th century, has found so little work since then, it has almost slipped from our grasp. Well, here is alphaDictionary's effort to jumpstart this word and its entire family. Its family includes an adjective, philomathic or philomathical, and an adverb, philomathically. A person who loves to learn is a philomath. I hope all who read this will have many uses for the whole family.
In Play: Wouldn't you like to hear people say things like this more often: "Pure philomathy drove Aaron Spelling beyond his AB in medieval philosophy to a PhD in the subject". Unfortunately, we are more likely to hear things like this: "I think Archer Bowman was motivated to go to college less by philomathy and more by his interests in the athletic programs." (Can you guess Archer's sport?)
Word History: This word began in ancient Greek as philomathia from philos "beloved, loving" + mathos "learning". It was borrowed by Latin, which apparently had plenty of use for it, passing it on to French as philomathie, where English nabbed it. Philos appears in many words English borrowed from Greek, including philosophy, the love of wisdom, bibliophile, a book lover and, of course, Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Mathos you have no doubt already associated with mathematics, but did you know that this word, from Greek mathematikos, was originally an adjective which by itself meant "fond of learning"?