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[sof-uh-stree] /ˈsɒf ə stri/
noun, plural sophistries.
a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.
a false argument; sophism.
Origin of sophistry
1300-50; Middle English sophistrie < Middle French, equivalent to sophistre sophister + -ie -y3
Related forms
antisophistry, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sophistry
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

  • The reasoning may be plausible, but it is no better than sophistry.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • There is the sophistry of law, the sophistry of medicine, the sophistry of politics, the sophistry of theology.

    Gorgias Plato
  • The sophistry of human nature is far more subtle than the deceit of any one man.

    Gorgias Plato
  • Also there is a touch of irony in them, which takes them out of the category of sophistry.

    Apology Plato
  • Still, Greta's nervousness increased; no reason, no sophistry could allay it.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • For a moment he was at a loss; then he had recourse to sophistry.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • The sophistry of thinking him 'no worse than his set' will serve no longer.

    The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for sophistry


noun (pl) -ries
  1. a method of argument that is seemingly plausible though actually invalid and misleading
  2. the art of using such arguments
subtle but unsound or fallacious reasoning
an instance of this; sophism
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 sophistry

"specious but fallacious reasoning," mid-14c., from Old French sophistrie (Modern French sophisterie), from Medieval Latin sophistria, from Latin sophista, sophistes (see sophist). "Sophistry applies to reasoning as sophism to a single argument" [Century Dictionary].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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