sci·​o·​lism ˈsī-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce sciolism (audio)
: a superficial show of learning
sciolist noun
sciolistic adjective

Did you know?

Sciolism comes from the Late Latin sciolus, which means "smatterer" (or "one who speaks with spotty or superficial knowledge"). "Sciolus" comes from the diminutive of Latin scius, meaning "knowing," which itself comes from the verb scire, meaning "to know." Of course, if you know something about Latin roots, you know that "scire" is the source of many other English words, including "science," "prescience" ("foreknowledge"), "nescience" ("lack of knowledge"), and "conscience."

Word History


Late Latin sciolus "smatterer, pretender to knowledge" (Latin scius "possessing knowledge, expert," derivative of scīre "to know" —perhaps as back-formation from nescius "ignorant"— + -olus, diminutive suffix, here with depreciative value) + -ism — more at science

First Known Use

1816, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sciolism was in 1816


Dictionary Entries Near sciolism

Cite this Entry

“Sciolism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

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