sophistry

noun
soph·​ist·​ry | \ ˈsä-fə-strē How to pronounce sophistry (audio) \
plural sophistries

Definition of sophistry

1 : subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation

Sophistry Has Roots in Greek Philosophy

The original Sophists were ancient Greek teachers of rhetoric and philosophy prominent in the 5th century B.C. In their heyday, these philosophers were considered adroit in their reasoning, but later philosophers (particularly Plato) described them as sham philosophers, out for money and willing to say anything to win an argument. Thus sophist (which comes from Greek sophistēs, meaning "wise man" or "expert") earned a negative connotation as "a captious or fallacious reasoner." Sophistry is reasoning that seems plausible on a superficial level but is actually unsound, or reasoning that is used to deceive.

Examples of sophistry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Such economic sophistry has become a trend under President Biden. Brian Riedl, National Review, 15 Apr. 2022 Ascribing causality to any one tactic is sophistry. WSJ, 23 Dec. 2021 Notice FDR’s painstaking enumeration of the elements of his program, and his puncturing of his opponents’ sophistry. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2021 The sophistry of their cringe-inducing lexicon is dangerous. Kenin M. Spivak, National Review, 16 Sep. 2021 And blunt is the racial preference, the explicit segregation, the insulting assumption-making and the overall intellectual sophistry that is anti-racist ideology in action. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 30 June 2021 And blunt is the racial preference, the explicit segregation, the insulting assumption-making and the overall intellectual sophistry that is anti-racist ideology in action. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 30 June 2021 And blunt is the racial preference, the explicit segregation, the insulting assumption-making and the overall intellectual sophistry that is anti-racist ideology in action. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 30 June 2021 The central irony of U2’s career might be that, having become sophisticated critics of media sophistry, the band simplified its outlook just before 9/11. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of sophistry

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries Near sophistry

sophisticator

sophistry

Sophocles

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sophistry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sophistry. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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