casuist

[kazh-oo-ist]
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noun
  1. an oversubtle or disingenuous reasoner, especially in questions of morality.
  2. a person who studies and resolves moral problems of judgment or conduct arising in specific situations.

Origin of casuist

1600–10; < Spanish casuista < Latin cāsu(s) case1 + -ista -ist
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for casuist

casuist

noun
  1. a person, esp a theologian, who attempts to resolve moral dilemmas by the application of general rules and the careful distinction of special cases
  2. a person who is oversubtle in his or her analysis of fine distinctions; sophist
Derived Formscasuistic or casuistical, adjectivecasuistically, adverb

Word Origin for casuist

C17: from French casuiste, from Spanish casuista, from Latin cāsus case 1
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 casuist
n.

c.1600, "one who studies and resolves cases of conscience," from French casuiste (17c.) or Spanish casuista (the French word also might be from Spanish), Italian casista, all from Latin casus (see case (n.1)) in its Medieval Latin sense "case of conscience." Often since 17c. in a sinister or contemptuous sense. Related: Casuistic; casuistical; casuistically; casuistry.

Casuistry ... destroys, by distinctions and exceptions, all morality, and effaces the essential difference between right and wrong. [Bolingbroke, 1736]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper