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A person with broad knowledge.

[Latin Polyhistōr, from Greek poluistōr, very learned : polu-, poly- + histōr, learned; see weid- in Indo-European roots.]

pol′y·his·tor′ic (-hĭ-stôr′ĭk) adj.


(ˌpɒlɪˈhɪstɔː) or


(Education) formal a person who possesses great learning


(ˌpɒl iˈhɪs tər)

also pol•y•his•to•ri•an

(-hɪˈstɔr i ən, -ˈstoʊr-)

a polymath.
[1565–75; < Latin polyhistōr < Greek polyístōr very learned. See poly-, history]
pol`y•his•tor′ic (-hɪˈstɔr ɪk, -ˈstɒr-) adj.
pol`y•his′to•ry, n.


a person of exceptionally wide knowledge; polymath. — polyhistoric, adj.
See also: Knowledge
References in periodicals archive ?
Today's students, brought up on the triumphalist story of modern--that is, correct and sanctioned--science may gain a richer understanding of what "science" has actually been by considering the heroic (if, as now apparent, misdirected) efforts of polyhistors like Athanasius Kircher and Johannes Alsted, who were hardly less prominent in the early modern Republic of Letters than those scorners of history and erudition, Galileo and Descartes.
To read ourselves back into the world of the polyhistors seems as impossible as learning the steps of forgotten forms of sacred dance: "Yet," Grafton writes of the Renaissance intelligentsia, "our only hope of understanding the formal intellectual life of early modern Europe in its urban context is to abandon prejudices and formulas, plunge in, and join the dance ourselves" (137).