Etymology
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sophomore (n.)
Origin and meaning of sophomore

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).

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sophomoric (adj.)
"characteristic of a sophomore" (regarded as self-assured and opinionated but crude and immature), 1806, from sophomore + -ic.
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soph (n.)
shortened form of sophomore, 1778; from 1660s as short for sophister.
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underclassman (n.)
"sophomore or freshman," 1869, American English, from under (adj.) + class (n.) in the school form sense + man (n.).
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