sciolist (SAI-uh-list) noun

One who engages in pretentious display of superficial knowledge.

[From Late Latin sciolus (smatterer), diminutive of Latin scius (knowing),

from scire (to know). Another example of the similar kind of word formation

is the name of the bird oriole which is derived from the diminutive form of

Latin aureus (golden).]

“Never was so brilliant a lecture-room as his evening banqueting-hall;

highly connected students from Rome mixed with the sharp-witted provincial

of Greece or Asia Minor; and the flippant sciolist, and the nondescript

visitor, half philosopher, half tramp, met with a reception, courteous

always, but suitable to his deserts.”

John Henry Newman; The Idea Of A University, University Life At Athens;


“On the other hand, judged strictly by the standard of his own time,

(Francis) Bacon’s ignorance of the progress which science had up to that

time made is only to be equalled by his insolence toward men in comparison

with whom he was the merest sciolist.”

Thomas H. Huxley; Harvey Discovers The Circulation Of The Blood;

History of the World.

From A.Word.A.Day.

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