One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who studies a subject in a superficial way or has only a slight knowledge of it.
- ‘Besides this, he also wrote tolerable poetry, but his taste was not pure, and he had his favourite authors and singular preferences; in a word, he was a literary smatterer, and a theatrical architect.’
- ‘When reached in his London office, Newton declined to comment, saying only that he had ‘no use for little smatterers in mathematics.’’
- ‘Better be proficient in one art than a smatterer in a thousand.’
- ‘When people want a legal opinion in detail, they must address their communications to us, individually, and not to irresponsible smatterers, like the chief editor.’
- ‘A man of true science uses but few hard words, and then only when none will answer his purpose; whereas the smatterer in science thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things.’
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