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a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone.
any false argument; fallacy.
Historical Examples

To sift thoroughly this sophism, it is sufficient to remember that human labor is not an end but a means.
What Is Free Trade? Frdrick Bastiat

Seeing me foiled, Charley advanced with the doubtful aid of a sophism to help me.
Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald

To get at the root of this sophism, it is necessary only to reflect that human labour is not the end, but the means.
Economic Sophisms Frederic Bastiat

Buridan was exempted, and, in gratitude, invented the sophism.
A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II) Augustus De Morgan

But with a word he obliterated the sophism—and with a glance repressed the badinage.
The Allen House T. S. Arthur

In the first place, the word universal conceals a gross sophism.
The Law Frdric Bastiat

The professor of political economy not only teaches his sophism—he would have us back his tortoise.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 64 No. 396 October 1848 Various

Let them cease, then, for shame’s sake, to urge this sophism.
A Defence of Virginia Robert L. Dabney

It is indeed a sad state of things to make such a sophism necessary.
Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg

But it is evident that a gross sophism lurks under this phraseology.
Harmonies of Political Economy Frdric Bastiat

an instance of sophistry Compare paralogism

early 15c., earlier sophime (mid-14c.), “specious but fallacious argument devised for purposes of deceit or to exercise one’s ingenuity,” from Old French sophime “a fallacy, false argument” (Modern French sophisme), from Latin sophisma, from Greek sophisma “clever device, skillful act, stage-trick,” from stem of sophizesthai “become wise” (see sophist).


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  • Sophist

    (often initial capital letter) Greek History. any of a class of professional teachers in ancient Greece who gave instruction in various fields, as in general culture, rhetoric, politics, or disputation. a person belonging to this class at a later period who, while professing to teach skill in reasoning, concerned himself with ingenuity and specious effectiveness […]

  • Sophistic

    of the nature of ; fallacious. characteristic or suggestive of . given to the use of . of or relating to or . Historical Examples sophistic is the shadow or counterfeit of law-giving: Rhetoric, of judging or adjudicating. Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates, 3rd ed. Volume II (of 4) George Grote Mr. Jowett […]

  • Sophistication

    character, ideas, tastes, or ways as the result of education, worldly experience, etc.: the sophistication of the wealthy. change from the natural character or simplicity, or the resulting condition. complexity, as in design or organization. impairment or debasement, as of purity or genuineness. the use of ; a sophism, quibble, or fallacious argument. Contemporary Examples […]

  • Sophistry

    a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning. a false argument; sophism. Contemporary Examples One of the arguments for intervention arising from the Syria strikes relies on a bit of sophistry. What Israel’s Attack Doesn’t Mean For American Intervention In Syria Ali Gharib May 5, 2013 No amount of rouge will ever […]

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