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eristic (i-RIS-tik) adjective

Characterized by controversy or disputes.


1. One who engages in arguments or disputes; a controversialist.

2. The art of disputation.

[From Greek eristikos, from erizein (to wrangle), from eris (strife). Eris was the goddess of discord in Greek mythology. The Romans called her Discordia.]

"Finally, Truth and Progress exhibits both the dazzle and idiosyncrasy of Rorty's literary style and eristic habits--the sharp insider wit, the hyperactive thumb-nailing of other thinkers to hawk fresh images of their thought ..." Carlin Romano; Books & the Arts: Rortyism for Beginners; The Nation (New York); Jul 27, 1998.

"Endlessly questioning nuances of meaning in front of exasperated colleagues, or calling attention to inappropriate administrative power, might make you the star of the show in Plato's Academy or Aristotle's Lyceum. But is that too obnoxiously eristic for the faculty meeting, a ritual most characterized by the common desire of its participants to see it end promptly, so everyone can go home and forget about disliked colleagues?" Carlin Romano; On Collegiality, College Style; The Chronicle of Higher Education (Washington, DC); May 26, 2000.

This week's theme: words to describe people.


It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards. -Lewis Carroll, mathematician and writer (1832-1898)

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