- any of the popular French intellectuals or social philosophers of the 18th century, as Diderot, Rousseau, or Voltaire.
- a philosophaster.
Origin of philosophe
Examples from the Web for philosophes
In earnest, if ever man was; as none of these French Philosophes were.
He is best known by his "Philosophes Salaris," and died in Rome, 1876.An Englishman in Paris
Albert D. (Albert Dresden) Vandam
His management of home affairs in general satisfied the philosophes.
Besides Diderot, the band of the Philosophes included many famous names.Landmarks in French Literature
G. Lytton Strachey
So it happened that the philosophes as a body were not theoretical sceptics merely but militant atheists.
Word Origin and History for philosophes
"Enlightenment rationalist and skeptic," especially in reference to any of the French Encyclopædists, often disparaging (when used by believers), 1774, from French philosophe, literally "philosopher" (see philosopher). Usually italicized in English, but nativized by Peter Gay ("The Enlightenment," 1966) and others. Also philosophist (1798).