so·​lon | \ ˈsō-lən How to pronounce solon (audio) , -ˌlän \

Definition of solon

1 : a wise and skillful lawgiver
2 : a member of a legislative body

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Solon was a particularly wise lawgiver in ancient Athens who was born in approximately 630 B.C. and lived until about 560 B.C. He was one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, and he implemented a number of reforms in Athenian law. In English, his name has been used generically since at least 1625 to refer to any wise statesman. Contemporary American journalists, with whom the term is especially popular, have extended the meaning even further to include any member of a lawmaking body, wise or not. In fact, today the word is sometimes used ironically for a legislator who displays a marked lack of wisdom, rather than a profusion of it.

Examples of solon in a Sentence

one of the most politically adept solons in the state legislature
Recent Examples on the Web These solons will not be bribed into embracing the future! Dan Rodricks,, 12 June 2018 The NFL Players Association has long been the most toothless of the big-league unions, while the NCAA has a vested interest in denying that its main money-maker presents any contradictions for the solons of higher education. Theodore Kupfer, National Review, 14 Dec. 2017 National Merit Scholars: Nine Solon students were named National Merit Scholarship winners, and each received $2,500 scholarships from the organization. Joan Rusek,, 29 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of solon

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for solon


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Solomon seal



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Cite this Entry

“Solon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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Solon biographical name

So·​lon | \ ˈsō-lən How to pronounce Solon (audio) , -ˌlän \

Definition of Solon

circa 630–circa 560 b.c. Athenian lawgiver

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