Where Did the Word “Sophomore” Come From and What Does the Term for a Second Year College Student Mean?

After her first, or “freshman,” year, a college student is called a “sophomore,” and has been since the description emerged at Cambridge in 1688.

The word is constructed from the Greek sophos, meaning wise, and moros, meaning foolish.

So a second-year student is somewhere between ignorance and wisdom.

Similarly, when we say something is “sophomoric,” we mean it is pretentious or foolish.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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