1846, "the method of regarding myths as glorified accounts of actual events or persons," with -ism + name of Euhemerus, Greek philosopher of Sicily (4c. B.C.E.), who wrote "Iera Anagraphe," in which he maintained the Greek deities actually were historical mortals. His name is literally "good day," from eu "well, good" (see eu-) + hēmera "day" (from PIE *Hehmer "day"). Related: Euhemerist; euhemeristic.
1620s, "Northern Lights," literally "northern dawn," said to have been coined by French philosopher Petrus Gassendus (1592-1655) after a spectacular display seen in France Sept. 2, 1621; see aurora + boreal. In northern Scotland and among sailors, sometimes called the dancers, pretty dancers, or merry dancers. Related: Aurora australis (1741).
by 1650s, "of or pertaining to Abdera," in Thrace, whose citizens were proverbial as provincials who would laugh at anything or anyone they didn't understand (Abderian laughter), making their town the Hellenic equivalent of Gotham (q.v.). Especially (or alternatively) as it was the birthplace of Democritus the atomist, the "Laughing Philosopher" (born c. 460 B.C.E.) who observed human follies.
substance prepared from wood-tar, 1835, from German Kreosot, coined 1832 by its discoverer, German-born natural philosopher Carl Ludwig, Baron Reichenbach, from Greek kreo-, combining form of kreas "flesh" (from PIE root *kreue- "raw flesh") + soter "preserver," from soizein "save, preserve" (perhaps from PIE root *teue- "to swell"). So called because it was used as an antiseptic and to preserve meat. The creosote-bush (1851) is so called for its smell.
ancient Greek colony in Libya; the name is of unknown origin. Cyrenaic (1640s) typically refers to the philosophy ("practical hedonism") of Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-c. 356 B.C.E.); as a noun, "a Cyrenaic philosopher," from 1580s.
According to Aristippus, pleasure is the only rational aim, and the relative values of different pleasures are to be determined by their relative intensities and durations. He maintained also that cognition is limited to sensation. [Century Dictionary]
early 15c., "philosopher, sage," from Middle English wys "wise" (see wise (adj.)) + -ard. Compare Lithuanian žynystė "magic," žynys "sorcerer," žynė "witch," all from žinoti "to know." The ground sense is perhaps "to know the future." The meaning "one with magical power, one proficient in the occult sciences" did not emerge distinctly until c. 1550, the distinction between philosophy and magic being blurred in the Middle Ages. As a slang word meaning "excellent" it is recorded from 1922.
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). Greek sophistes came to mean "one who gives intellectual instruction for pay," and at Athens, contrasted with "philosopher," it became a term of contempt.
Meaning "worldly wisdom, refinement, discrimination" is attested from 1850.