1640s, "relating to the art of reasoning about probabilities," from Latin dialecticus, from Greek dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect). From 1813 as "of or pertaining to a dialect or dialects."
1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), "critical examination of the truth of an opinion, formal reason and logic applied to rhetoric and refutation," from Old French dialectique (12c.) and directly from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect).
Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant ("the theory of false argumentation leading to contradictions and fallacies), then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character to attain higher truths." Used generally in 20c. Marxism for "evolution by means of contradictions." Related: Dialectics.
1540s, " of or pertaining to logical disputation, relating to the art of reasoning;" see dialectic + -al (1). From 1750 as "of or pertaining to a dialect." From 1788 as "of the nature of philosophical dialectic" (in reference to Kant, later to Hegel and Marx). Related: Dialectally. Dialectical materialism (by 1927) translates Marx's phrase.
"swelling on the foot caused by inflammation of a bursa," 1718, apparently from East Anglian dialectic bunny "lump, swelling" (16c.), which is probably from French buigne "bump on the head, swelling from a blow" (see bun).
1680s, "student in the second year of university study," literally "arguer," altered from sophumer (1650s), from sophume, an archaic variant form of sophism, ultimately from Greek sophistēs "a master of one's craft; a wise or prudent man, one clever in matters of daily life."
The modern form probably is by folk etymology derivation from Greek sophos "wise" + mōros "foolish, dull" (see moron).
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, 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).
1580s, "handy, dexterous, having special manual ability," apparently from East Anglian dialectal cliver "expert at seizing," perhaps from East Frisian klüfer "skillful," or Norwegian dialectic klover "ready, skillful," and perhaps influenced by Old English clifer "claw, hand" (early usages seem to refer to dexterity). Or perhaps akin to Old Norse kleyfr "easy to split," from Proto-Germanic *klaubri‑ from PIE root *gleubh- "to tear apart, cleave." Extension to intellect is first recorded 1704.
This is a low word, scarcely ever used but in burlesque or conversation; and applied to any thing a man likes, without a settled meaning. [Johnson, 1755]
The meaning has narrowed since, but clever also often in old use and dialect meant "well-shaped, attractive-looking" and in late 18c. and 19c. American English sometimes "good-natured, agreeable." Related: Cleverly; cleverness.
late 14c., philologie, "love of learning and literature; personification of linguistic and literary knowledge," from Latin philologia "love of learning, love of letters, love of study, literary culture," from Greek philologia "love of discussion, learning, and literature; studiousness," in later use "learning" in a wider sense, from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + logos "word, speech" (see Logos).
Compare the sense evolution of Greek philologos, "fond of words, talkative," in Plato "fond of dialectic or argument," in Aristotle and Plutarch "fond of learning and literature," in Plotinus and Proclus "studious of words."
The meaning "science of language" is attested by 1716 (philologue "linguist" is from 1590s; philologer "linguistic scholar" is from 1650s); this confusing secondary sense has not been popular in the U.S., where linguistics is preferred. Related: Philological; philologic.
Philology reigned as king of the sciences, the pride of the first great modern universities—those that grew up in Germany in the eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries. Philology inspired the most advanced humanistic studies in the United States and the United Kingdom in the decades before 1850 and sent its generative currents through the intellectual life of Europe and America. It meant far more than the study of old texts. Philology referred to allstudies of language, of specific languages, and (to be sure) of texts. Its explorations ranged from the religion of ancient Israel through the lays of medieval troubadours to the tongues of American Indians—and to rampant theorizing about the origin of language itself. [James Turner, "Philology," 2014]