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philosophe

[fil-uh-sof, fil-uh-zof; French fee-law-zawf]
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noun, plural phil·o·sophes [fil-uh-sofs, fil-uh-zofs; French fee-law-zawf] /ˈfɪl əˌsɒfs, ˌfɪl əˈzɒfs; French fi lɔˈzɔf/.
  1. any of the popular French intellectuals or social philosophers of the 18th century, as Diderot, Rousseau, or Voltaire.
  2. a philosophaster.
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Origin of philosophe

Borrowed into English from French around 1770–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for philosophes

philosophe

n.

"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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

philosophes in Culture

philosophes

[(fee-luh-zawf)]

A group of radical thinkers and writers in France in the eighteenth century, including Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The philosophes stressed the use of human reason and were especially critical of established religious and political practices in France.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.