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sophism

[sof-iz-uh m]
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noun
  1. a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone.
  2. any false argument; fallacy.

Origin of sophism

1300–50; < Latin sophisma sophistry < Greek sóphisma orig., acquired skill, method, derivative of sophízesthai to act the sophist, become wise; replacing earlier sophim, Middle English < Middle French sophime < Latin
Related formsan·ti·soph·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sophism

Historical Examples

  • Seeing me foiled, Charley advanced with the doubtful aid of a sophism to help me.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Marriage at eleven could by no stretch of sophism be called a voluntary act.

  • It is the genius of Sophism which paralyzes this resistance.

  • Buridan was exempted, and, in gratitude, invented the sophism.

  • Let us conclude this monography of sophism with a final and important observation.

    Economic Sophisms

    Frederic Bastiat


British Dictionary definitions for sophism

sophism

noun
  1. an instance of sophistryCompare paralogism

Word Origin

C14: from Latin sophisma, from Greek: ingenious trick, from sophizesthai to use clever deceit, from sophos wise, clever
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for sophism

n.

early 15c., earlier sophime (mid-14c.), "specious but fallacious argument devised for purposes of deceit or to exercise one's ingenuity," from Old French sophime "a fallacy, false argument" (Modern French sophisme), from Latin sophisma, from Greek sophisma "clever device, skillful act, stage-trick," from stem of sophizesthai "become wise" (see sophist).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper