[sahy-uh-liz-uh m]


superficial knowledge.

Origin of sciolism

1810–20; < Late Latin sciol(us) one who knows little (diminutive of scius knowing; see conscious, -ole1) + -ism
Related formssci·o·list, nounsci·o·lis·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sciolist

Historical Examples of sciolist

  • We may leave the Sciolist, and the Merest Tyro, to fight about niceties.

    A Likely Story

    William De Morgan

  • He was essentially a scholar, while his friend was as essentially a sciolist.

    A Letter Book

    George Saintsbury

  • He hopped about the office for a minute or two, and then he informed me that I was an 18-karat sciolist.

    Coffee and Repartee

    John Kendrick Bangs

  • He is no sciolist himself, and he does not believe in merely superficial attainments in his pupils.

    Western Worthies

    J. Stephen Jeans

  • I mean no disrespect in styling Mr. Bishop a sciolist (or undeveloped scientist).

British Dictionary definitions for sciolist



rare the practice of opinionating on subjects of which one has only superficial knowledge
Derived Formssciolist, nounsciolistic, adjective

Word Origin for sciolism

C19: from Late Latin sciolus someone with a smattering of knowledge, from Latin scīre to know
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 sciolist

1610s, "smatterer, pretender to knowledge," from Late Latin sciolus "one who knows a little," diminutive of scius "knowing," from scire "to know" (see science) + -ist. Related: Sciolistic.



"a show of knowledge," 1798; see sciolist + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper