Pronounced: ek-sap-TAY-shuhn, noun

Notes: I’ve not run across this word

Yesterday’s word

The word philosophaster means “a person who only has a superficial knowledge of philosophy or who feigns a knowledge he or she does not possess”

First usage

Our word came into English in the early 1600s

Background / Comments

Yesterday, I really should have had that I have met a philosophaster, but I thought that it might give too much away. It was in the course of work; we had installed some software, and were training people to maintain the system. The lead maintenance software engineer had read the manuals enough to pick up some of the technical terms, and he would randomly throw these words in to impress his superiors. To us (who had written and knew the system), it was clear that he was spouting gibberish, but it impressed those who didn’t know the system. He did sound impressive; unfortunately, he didn’t have any idea of how the system worked. We found it highly amusing; fortunately, our manager had a quiet word with some of the higher-ups and was able to get the guy re-assigned. To this day, I don’t know if if he ever realized that we were fully aware of his pretense at knowledge. When I saw our word, I immediately thought of this guy. You may have had a guess at the meaning if you recall the post of poetaster from last year, where -aster is a Latin pejorative (something that imperfectly resembles or mimics the real thing) combined with philosopher, which came from the Latin word philosophus (philosopher), which came from the Greek word philósophus (philosopher), made up up philo- (loving) and sophía (wisdom).

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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