phi·​lo·​sophe ˌfē-lə-ˈzȯf How to pronounce philosophe (audio)
: one of the deistic or materialistic writers and thinkers of the 18th century French Enlightenment

Examples of philosophe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The French philosophe the Marquis de Condorcet prophesied that, with the press finally free, the world would be bathed in the light of reason. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 Leading the opposition was Diderot, the Enlightenment philosophe. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 With some exceptions, the typical Enlightenment philosophe was an intellectual generalist, more a social or political critic than anything else. Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, 12 Mar. 2021 The philosophe wondered what was left to unbelievers in the way of ethical guidelines. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, 15 Feb. 2019 In 18th-century France there were the philosophes, among them D’Alembert, Diderot, Voltaire, Helvétius. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 22 Mar. 2019 Some of the French philosophes explicitly attributed human happiness to earthly possessions, material pleasure and successful social striving. Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2018 If d’Herbelot was both respectful and systematic in his treatment of the Islamic world, Enlightenment philosophes were less so. Jacob Soll, The New Republic, 12 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'philosophe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, philosopher

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of philosophe was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near philosophe

Cite this Entry

“Philosophe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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