sophistry

play
noun soph·ist·ry \ˈsä-fə-strē\

Definition of sophistry

plural

sophistries

  1. 1 :  subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation

  2. 2 :  sophism 1

sophistry was our Word of the Day on 08/26/2008. Hear the podcast!

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.

First Known Use of sophistry

14th century


SOPHISTRY Defined for English Language Learners

sophistry

play
noun

Definition of sophistry for English Language Learners

  • : the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false

  • : a reason or argument that sounds correct but is actually false



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