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[sof-iz-uh m] /ˈsɒf ɪz əm/
a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone.
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 forms
antisophism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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.

  • To expose fully all that is false in this sophism would be an endless work.

    Economic Sophisms Frederic Bastiat
  • Let us conclude this monography of sophism with a final and important observation.

    Economic Sophisms Frederic Bastiat
  • In the first place, the word universal conceals a gross sophism.

    The Law Frdric Bastiat
  • But the argument is a sophism, in a yet more audacious and insulting sense.

    A Defence of Virginia Robert L. Dabney
  • Let them cease, then, for shame's sake, to urge this sophism.

    A Defence of Virginia Robert L. Dabney
  • Your idea about Wilhelm Meister is rather pretty, but, after all, it is only a sophism.

    Letters to an Unknown Prosper Mrime
British Dictionary definitions for sophism


an instance of sophistry Compare 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
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Word Origin and History for sophism

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
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