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Sophist, Sophistry, Sophism, Sophisticator

etc. These words have quite run from their legitimate meaning. Before the time of Pythagoras (B.C. 586-506) the sages of Greece were called sophists (wise men). Pythagoras out of modesty called himself a philosopher (a wisdom-lover). A century later Protagoras of Abdera resumed the title, and a set of quibblers appeared in Athens who professed to answer any question on any subject, and took up the title discarded by the Wise Samian. From this moment sophos and all its family of words were applied to “wisdom falsely so called,” and philo-sophos to the “modest search after truth.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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