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Word of the Day
Monday, May 22, 2017

Definitions for ultracrepidarian

  1. noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise: The play provides a classic, simplistic portrayal of an ultracrepidarian mother-in-law.
  2. an ultracrepidarian person.

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Citations for ultracrepidarian
He was the only person in New York who might be called, without intent to malign, an Ultracrepidarian critic. It was of the very nature of his job to find fault with small and insignificant details. Ellery Queen, The American Gun Mystery, 1933
It's a risky topic for the authors of Freakonomics, who could be accused of displaying ultracrepidarian tendencies themselves, after eschewing the strictly economic analyses of their earlier mega best-sellers to publish what is more or less a self-help tome. Tim Walker, "Freakonomics authors Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt reveal some of the 'magic' of their problem-solving techniques in new book," Independent, May 22, 2014
Origin of ultracrepidarian
Ultracrepidarian is nonexistent in Latin and very rare in English. The word was coined by the English essayist William Hazlitt (1778-1830) from the Latin phrase ultra crepidam “beyond the sandal” (there are several Latin versions) taken from the Natural History (book 35) of the Roman polymath Pliny the Elder (a.d. 23-79). Pliny was retelling a retort that Apelles (4th century b.c.), a famous ancient Greek painter, made to a cobbler. The cobbler the day before had criticized Apelles for inaccurately painting a sandal, and Apelles corrected his error. The next day the cobbler tried to criticize Apelles’ painting of the leg the sandal was on, at which the exasperated Apelles remarked that “a shoemaker should not judge above his sandal.” Ultracrepidarian entered English in the 19th century.