[ suh-fros-uh-nee ]
/ səˈfrɒs ə ni /
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moderation; discretion; prudence.



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Compare hubris.

Origin of sophrosyne

<Greek sōphrosýnē, derivative of sṓphrōn prudent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does sophrosyne mean?

Sophrosyne is the virtue of being reasonable and moderate and having self-control.

A virtue is a good quality that a person has, like honesty. Sophrosyne is closely associated with Ancient Greek philosophy. It is considered the opposite of hubris, which is excessive pride or arrogance, especially that which clouds judgment.

Example: Though some of his initial ideas were unrealistic, he maintained his sophrosyne that prevented him from pitching anything too wild.

Where does sophrosyne come from?

Sophrosyne is first recorded in English in the late 1800s, but the concept is ancient. Sophrosyne comes from the Greek word sōphrosúnē, which derives from the Greek sṓphrōn, meaning “prudent.” The first part of sophrosyne comes from the root sôs, meaning “sound” (healthy), and the second part comes from the root phrḗn, meaning “mind.”

Someone who displays sophrosyne is “of sound mind,” but the term refers to more than being mentally healthy—it also has to do with the way that a person behaves. The concept of sophrosyne was discussed by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato and many philosophers after him, including Thomas Aquinas. Throughout the years, many explanations have been given for what qualities it includes. This is because sophrosyne combines a lot of characteristics into a single word. Perhaps its closest synonyms are prudence and temperance, but even those words don’t capture all of what it means to have sophrosyne. Perhaps the best way to define sophrosyne is by what it’s not: hubris, or the quality of being so arrogant that you make bad decisions because of it.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for sophrosyne?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sophrosyne

What are some words that often get used in discussing sophrosyne?

How is sophrosyne used in real life?

Sophrosyne is typically used in the discussion of Ancient Greek philosophy and literature, but sometimes people apply it to their everyday life.



Try using sophrosyne!

Which of the following choices is a characteristic of sophrosyne?

A. temperance
B. carelessness
C. indulgence
D. vanity

Example sentences from the Web for sophrosyne