sophism (n.)
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).
sophist (n.)
"one who makes use of fallacious arguments," mid-15c., earlier sophister (late 14c.), from Latin sophista, sophistes, from Greek sophistes "a master of one's craft; a wise or prudent man, one clever in matters of daily life," from sophizesthai "to become wise or learned," from sophos "skilled in a handicraft, cunning in one's craft; clever in matters of everyday life, shrewd; skilled in the sciences, learned; clever; too clever," of unknown origin. Greek sophistes came to mean "one who gives intellectual instruction for pay," and at Athens, contrasted with "philosopher," it became a term of contempt.
Sophists taught before the development of logic and grammar, when skill in reasoning and in disputation could not be accurately distinguished, and thus they came to attach great value to quibbles, which soon brought them into contempt. [Century Dictionary]
sophistic (adj.)
1540s, from Latin sophisticus, from Greek sophistikos "like a sophist, sophistical," from sophistes (see sophist). Related: Sophistical (late 15c.); sophistically (late 14c.).
sophisticate (v.)
c. 1400, "make impure by admixture," from Medieval Latin sophisticatus, past participle of sophisticare (see sophistication). From c. 1600 as "corrupt, delude by sophistry;" from 1796 as "deprive of simplicity." Related: Sophisticated; sophisticating. As a noun meaning "sophisticated person" from 1921.
sophisticated (adj.)
c. 1600, "mixed with a foreign substance, impure; no longer simple or natural," past participle adjective from sophisticate (v.). Of persons, with a positive sense, "worldly-wise, discriminating, cultured," from 1895.
sophistication (n.)
early 15c., "use of sophistry; fallacious argument intended to mislead; adulteration; an adulterated or adulterating substance," from Medieval Latin sophisticationem (nominative sophisticatio), noun of action from past participle stem of sophisticare "adulterate, cheat quibble," from Latin sophisticus "of sophists," from Greek sophistikos "of or pertaining to a sophist," from sophistes "a wise man, master, teacher" (see sophist). Meaning "wordly wisdom, refinement, discrimination" is attested from 1850.
sophistry (n.)
"specious but fallacious reasoning," mid-14c., from Old French sophistrie (Modern French sophisterie), from Medieval Latin sophistria, from Latin sophista, sophistes (see sophist). "Sophistry applies to reasoning as sophism to a single argument" [Century Dictionary].
Sophocles
Athenian tragic poet (c. 496-406 B.C.E.), the name is Greek Sophokles, literally "famed for wisdom," from sophos "wise" (see sophist) + -kles "fame," a common ending in Greek proper names, related to kleos "rumor, report, news; good report, fame, glory," from PIE *klew-yo-, suffixed form of root *kleu- "to hear." Related: Sophoclean.
sophomore (n.)
1680s, "student in the second year of university study," literally "arguer," altered from sophumer (1650s, from sophume, archaic variant form of sophism), probably by influence of folk etymology derivation from Greek sophos "wise" + moros "foolish, dull." The original reference might be to the dialectic exercises that formed a large part of education in the middle years. At Oxford and Cambridge, a sophister (from sophist with spurious -er as in philosopher) was a second- or third-year student (what Americans would call a "junior" might be a senior sophister).
sophomoric (adj.)
"characteristic of a sophomore" (regarded as self-assured and opinionated but crude and immature), 1806, from sophomore + -ic.
Sophronia
fem. proper name, from Greek sophronia, from sophron (genitive sophronos) "discreet, prudent, sensible, having control over sensual desires, moderate, chaste," literally "of sound mind," from sos "safe, sound, whole" + phren "heart, mind" (see phreno-).
sophrosyne (n.)
the quality of wise moderation; Greek, "prudence, moderation in desires, discretion, temperance," from sophron "of sound mind, prudent, temperate" (see Sophronia).
sopor (n.)
Latin, "deep sleep, lethargy," from PIE *swep-os-, suffixed form of root *swep- "to sleep."
soporific (adj.)
"tending to produce sleep," 1680s, from French soporifique (17c.), formed in French from Latin sopor (genitive soporis) "deep sleep" (from PIE root *swep- "to sleep"). As a noun from 1722. Earlier as an adjective was soporiferous (1580s as "characterized by excessive sleep," c. 1600 as "soporific").
sopping (adj.)
"very wet," 1877, from sop (v.) "to drench with moisture" (1680s), from sop (n.).
soppy (adj.)
"very wet," 1823, from sop + -y (2). Meaning "sentimental" first recorded 1918. Related: Soppiness.
soprano (n.)
1738, "the highest singing voice," ranging easily through the two octaves above middle C, from Italian soprano "the treble in music," literally "high," from sopra "above," from Latin supra, fem. ablative singular of super "above, over" (see super-). Meaning "a singer having a soprano voice" is from 1738. As an adjective from 1730. Soprano saxophone is attested from 1859.
sora (n.)
small, short-billed North American bird species, the Carolina rail, 1705, probably from a native name.
sorb (n.)
"fruit of the service tree," 1520s, from French sorbe, from Latin sorbum "service-berry" (small, edible fruit of the European mountain ash), from sorbus, of uncertain origin.
Sorb (n.)
1843, from German Sorbe, from Slavic Serb, the national designation. Slavic people surviving in Lusatia, eastern Saxony, also known as Wends. Related: Sorbian (1836); earlier Sorabian (1788), from Medieval Latin Sorabi.
sorbet (n.)
1580s, "cooling drink of fruit juice and water," from French sorbet (16c.), probably from Italian sorbetto, from Turkish serbet (see sherbet). Perhaps influenced in form by Italian sorbire "to sip." Meaning "semi-liquid water ice as a dessert" first recorded 1864.
sorbic (adj.)
1815, in sorbic acid, so called because it was first isolated from the berries of the mountain ash (see sorb).
Sorbonne
1560, from Sorbon, place name in the Ardennes. Theological college in Paris founded by Robert de Sorbon (1201-1274), chaplain and confessor of Louis IX. As an academic institution, most influential 16c.-17c., suppressed during the Revolution.
sorcerer (n.)
early 15c., "conjurer of evil spirits," displacing earlier sorcer (late 14c.), from Old French sorcier, from Medieval Latin sortarius "teller of fortunes by lot; sorcerer" (also source of Spanish sortero, Italian sortiere; see sorcery). With superfluous -er, as in poulterer, upholsterer; perhaps the modern form of the word is back-formed from sorcery. Sorcerer's apprentice translates l'apprenti sorcier, title of a symphonic poem by Paul Dukas (1897) based on a Goethe ballad ("Der Zauberlehrling," 1797), but the common figurative use of the term (1952) comes after Disney's "Fantasia" (1940).
sorceress (n.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French sorceresse, from sorcer (see sorcerer).
sorcerous (adj.)
1540s, from sorcery + -ous.
sorcery (n.)
c. 1300, "witchcraft, magic, enchantment; act or instance of sorcery; supernatural state of affairs; seemingly magical works," from Old French sorcerie, from sorcier "sorcerer, wizard," from Medieval Latin sortiarius "teller of fortunes by lot; sorcerer," literally "one who influences fate or fortune," from Latin sors (genitive sortis) "lot, fate, fortune" (see sort (n.)).
sord (n.)
"flock of mallards," 15c., perhaps from sord (v.) "to take flight," from Old French sordre "arise, stand up," from Latin surgere "to rise" (see surge (n.)).
sordid (adj.)
early 15c., "festering," from Latin sordidus "dirty, filthy, foul, vile, mean, base," from sordere "be dirty, be shabby," related to sordes "dirt, filth," from PIE *swrd-e-, from root *swordo- "black, dirty" (source also of Old English sweart "black"). Sense of "foul, low, mean" first recorded 1610s. Related: Sordidly; sordidness.
sore (n.)
Old English sar "bodily pain or injury, wound; sickness, disease; state of pain or suffering," from root of sore (adj.). Now restricted to ulcers, boils, blisters. Compare Old Saxon ser "pain, wound," Middle Dutch seer, Dutch zeer, Old High German ser, Old Norse sar, Gothic sair.
sore (adj.)
Old English sar "painful, grievous, aching, sad, wounding," influenced in meaning by Old Norse sarr "sore, wounded," from Proto-Germanic *saira- "suffering, sick, ill" (source also of Old Frisian sar "painful," Middle Dutch seer, Dutch zeer "sore, ache," Old High German ser "painful," Gothic sair "pain, sorrow, travail"), from PIE root *sai- (1) "suffering" (source also of Old Irish saeth "pain, sickness").

Adverbial use (as in sore afraid) is from Old English sare but has mostly died out (replaced by sorely), but remains the main meaning of German cognate sehr "very." Slang meaning "angry, irritated" is first recorded 1738.
sorehead (n.)
"mean, discontented person," 1848, American English, from sore (adj.) + head (n.). Especially in 19c. U.S. political slang, a person who is dissatisfied through lack of recognition or reward for party service (1862).
sorely (adv.)
Old English sarlice "grievously, mournfully, bitterly, painfully;" see sore (adj.) + -ly (2).
sorghum (n.)
"Indian millet," 1590s, from Modern Latin Sorghum, the genus name, from Italian sorgo "a tall cereal grass," probably from Medieval Latin surgum, suricum (12c.), perhaps a variant of Latin syricum "Syrian," as in Syricum (gramen) "(grass) of Syria," from Syria, a possible source of the plant or its grain in ancient times.
Soroptimist
international society of business women and women executives, first club formed 1921 in Oakland, Calif., U.S., from stem of sorority + optimist, probably after the Optimist Club.
sororal (adj.)
1650s, from Latin soror "sister" (see sister) + -al (1).
sorority (n.)
1530s, "a society of women, body of women united for some purpose," from Medieval Latin sororitas "sisterhood, of or pertaining to sisters," from Latin soror "sister" (see sister). Sense of "women's society in a college or university" attested by 1887 (Alpha Delta Pi claims founding in 1851).
sorosis (n.)
"consolidated fleshy multiple fruit" (such as a pineapple), 1831, from Modern Latin, from Greek soros "a heap."
sorrel (adj.)
"reddish brown," especially of horses, mid-14c., from Old French sorel, from sor "yellowish-brown," probably from Frankish *saur "dry," or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *sauza- (source also of Middle Dutch soor "dry," Old High German soren "to become dry," Old English sear "withered, barren;" see sere). Perhaps a diminutive form in French.
sorrel (n.)
small perennial plant, late 14c., from Old French surele (12c., Modern French surelle), from sur "sour," from Frankish *sur or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *sura- "sour" (source also of Old High German, Old English sur "sour;" see sour (adj.)). So called for the taste of its leaves.
sorrow (n.)
Old English sorg "grief, regret, trouble, care, pain, anxiety," from Proto-Germanic *sorg- (source also of Old Saxon sorga, Old Norse sorg, Middle Dutch sorghe, Dutch zorg, Old High German soraga, German sorge, Gothic saurga), perhaps from PIE *swergh- "to worry, be sick" (source also of Sanskrit surksati "cares for," Lithuanian sergu "to be sick," Old Church Slavonic sraga "sickness," Old Irish serg "sickness"). Not connected etymologically with sore (adj.) or sorry.
sorrow (v.)
Old English sorgian, from sorg (see sorrow (n.)). Related: Sorrowed; sorrowing. Compare Dutch zorgen, German sorgen, Gothic saurgan.
sorrowful (adj.)
Old English sorgful "sad, anxious, careful; distressing, doleful;" see sorrow (n.) + -ful. Related: Sorrowfully; sorowfulness.
sorry (adj.)
Old English sarig "distressed, grieved, full of sorrow" (not found in the physical sense of "sore"), from Proto-Germanic *sairiga- "painful" (source also of Old Saxon serag, Middle Dutch seerigh "sore; sad, sorry," Dutch zeerig "sore, full of sores," Old High German serag, Swedish sårig "sore, full of sores"), from *sairaz "pain" (physical and mental); related to *saira- "suffering, sick, ill" (see sore (adj.)). Meaning "wretched, worthless, poor" first recorded mid-13c. Spelling shift from -a- to -o- by influence of sorrow. Apologetic sense (short for I'm sorry) is attested from 1834; phrase sorry about that popularized 1960s by U.S. TV show "Get Smart." Related: Sorrily; sorriness.
sort (v.)
mid-14c., "to arrange according to type or quality," from Old French sortir "allot, sort, assort," from Latin sortiri "draw lots, divide, choose," from sors (see sort (n.)). In some senses, the verb is a shortened form of assort.
sort (n.)
late 14c., "group of people, animals, etc.; kind or variety of person or animal," from Old French sorte "class, kind," from Latin sortem (nominative sors) "lot; fate, destiny; share, portion; rank, category; sex, class, oracular response, prophecy," from PIE root *ser- (2) "to line up." The sense evolution in Vulgar Latin is from "what is allotted to one by fate," to "fortune, condition," to "rank, class, order." Later (mid-15c.) "group, class, or category of items; kind or variety of thing; pattern, design." Out of sorts "not in usual good condition" is attested from 1620s, with literal sense of "out of stock."
sortie (n.)
"attack of the besieged upon the besiegers," 1778, from French sortie (16c.), literally "a going out," noun use of fem. past participle of sortir "go out," from Vulgar Latin *surctire, from Latin surrectus, past participle of surgere "rise up" (see surge (n.)).
SOS
1910, from International Morse code letters, chosen arbitrarily as being easy to transmit and difficult to mistake. Not an initialism (acronym) for "save our ship" or anything else. Won out over alternative suggestion C.Q.D., which is said to mean "come quickly, distress," or "CQ," general call for alerting other ships that a message follows, and "D" for danger. SOS is the telegraphic distress signal only; the oral equivalent is mayday.
sot (n.)
late Old English sott "stupid person, fool," from Old French sot, from Gallo-Roman *sott- (probably related to Medieval Latin sottus, c.800), of uncertain origin, with cognates from Portugal to Germany. Surviving meaning "one who is stupefied with drink" first recorded 1590s. As a verb, it is attested from c. 1200, but usually besot.
soteriological (adj.)
1879, from German soteriologisch; see soteriology.