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First indubitably attested ante 1643 (perhaps antedated to 1611); from the Ancient Greek φιλομαθής (philomathḗs, fond of learning), from φίλος (phílos, loving) + μάθη (máthē) (mathē, “learning”; from μανθάνω (manthánō), manthanō, “I learn”); compare opsimath, philomathematic, and polymath.


philomath (plural philomaths)

  1. (archaic) A lover of learning; a scholar.
    • 1824, Rev. Philip Skelton, The Complete Works of the Late Rev. Philip Skelton, Rector of Fintona, page 27:
      For this (in my humble opinion, not very important purpose, and fitter to employ the talent of a philomath than a Newton) he and Leibnitz, much about the same, struck out a fluxional method, which they both took for a demonstration.
    • 1896, John Bach McMaster, Benjamin Franklin as a Man of Letters, page 108:
      Jerman for twenty years past had been the author of a Quaker almanac, and had for about the same time been engaged in a fierce almanac warfare with Jacob Taylor, a philomath and a printer of Friends’ books.
  2. An astrologer or predictor.
    • 2007, Thomas Fleming, Benjamin Frankiln: Inventing America, Sterling point books, age 33
      "The success of an almanac depended upon the appeal of the "philomath"-the resident astologer who did the writing and predicting."