Also found in: Thesaurus.


A pretentious attitude of scholarship; superficial knowledgeability.

[From Late Latin sciolus, smatterer, diminutive of Latin scius, knowing, from scīre, to know; see skei- in Indo-European roots.]

sci′o·list n.
sci′o·lis′tic adj.


rare the practice of opinionating on subjects of which one has only superficial knowledge
[C19: from Late Latin sciolus someone with a smattering of knowledge, from Latin scīre to know]
ˈsciolist n
ˌscioˈlistic adj


(ˈsaɪ əˌlɪz əm)

superficial knowledge.
[1810–20; < Late Latin sciol(us) one who knows little (diminutive of Latin scius knowing; see conscious, -ole1) + -ism]
sci′o•list, n.
sci`o•lis′tic, adj.


a superficial knowledge, especially when pretentiously revealed. — sciolist, n. — sciolistic, sciolous, adj.
See also: Knowledge
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sciolism - pretentious superficiality of knowledge
shallowness, superficiality - lack of depth of knowledge or thought or feeling
References in classic literature ?
It is enough for me to point out to yourself that there are certain social fitnesses and proprieties which should hinder a somewhat near relative of mine from becoming any wise conspicuous in this vicinity in a status not only much beneath my own, but associated at best with the sciolism of literary or political adventurers.
During the two past weeks, Egypt was gripped by yet another case of media sciolism. Al Kahera Wal Nas, "Cairo and the People", a private satellite channel broadcasted from Cairo's Media Production City (MPC), has been the subject of controversy in a dangerously polarised country.
The quiescent and tacit acceptance of geopolitics on the part of the military services appears to be sciolism in its purest form.