1680s, student in the second year of university study, literally arguer, altered from, an archaic variant form ofsophism, ultimately from Greeka master of ones craft; a wise or prudent man, one clever in matters of daily life.
The modern form probably is by folk etymology derivation from Greeksophoswise +mrosfoolish, dull (seemoron).
The original reference of the arguer name might be to the dialectic exercises that formed a large part of education in the middle years. At Oxford and Cambridge, asophister(fromsophistwith spurious-eras inphilosopher) was a second- or third-year student (what Americans would call a junior might be asenior sophister).
(mid-14c.), specious but fallacious argument devised for purposes of deceit or to exercise ones ingenuity, from Old French
a fallacy, false argument (Modern French
clever device, skillful act, stage-trick, from stem of
become wise (seesophist).
1910, medical Latin, one of the highest class of feeble-minded persons, from Greek (Attic)mron, neuter ofmrosfoolish, dull, sluggish, stupid, a word of uncertain origin. The former connection with Sanskritmurahidiotic (seemoratorium) is in doubt. Latinmorusfoolish is a loan-word from Greek.
Adopted by the American Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded with a technical definition adult with a mental age between 8 and 12; used as an insult since 1922 and subsequently dropped from technical use. Linnæus had introducedmorisisidiocy.
The feeble-minded may be divided into: (1) Those who are totally arrested before the age of three so that they show the attainment of a two-year-old child or less; these are the idiots. (2) Those so retarded that they become permanently arrested between the ages of three and seven; these are imbeciles. (3) Those so retarded that they become arrested between the ages of seven and twelve; these were formerly called feeble-minded, the same term that is applied to the whole group. We are now proposing to call them morons, this word being the Greek for fool. The English word fool as formerly used describes exactly this grade of childone who is deficient in judgment or sense. [Henry H. Goddard, in Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Education Association of the United States, July 1910]
used of the second year in United States high school or college;