A year ago on Round and Square (8 July 2012)—Asian Ethnicities: Han-c
Two years ago on Round and Square (8 July 2011)—Le Tour de la France: A Disappointment for the Boys
|[a] Eclectic RF|
No, this is does not mean "lots of math." Well, in a way—sort of—it does, but it actually refers to even wider ranges of of knowing beyond the beauty of mathematics itself. Polymaths are not quite as common these days, what with almost comical forms of academic specialization and jargon-laced journal publications that would make all but the six people focusing on a small fragment of a tiny subfield...throw up (mostly their hands) in despair.
|[b] Ploy math RF|
No, polymathy was different back in the good ol' days, when giants named Aristotle, Sima Qian, Thomas Aquinas, Ban Zhao, Ibn Khaldun, and Immanuel Kant roamed the earth. How many people do you know today who could write first-rate political science and literary theory? Or treatises on canals in one breath, followed by imperial annals on the other? Or reflections on "just war" and the nature of god? Want more polymathy? Well, how about a writer so versatile that she wrote treatises on proper social conduct and completed the massive historical tome her father and brothers couldn't finish? Or a theory of social conflict and the history of his people? Finally, how about the guy who "solved" they mystery of human knowledge and dabbled in anthropology on the side?
This is the meaning of "polymath." A polymath is not just someone who is "smart." It takes much, more work than that—decades and decades of reading, writing, thinking, experimenting, and writing some more. This often occurs with cats as companions.
Definition of POLYMATH
A person of encyclopedic learning
— polymath or poly·math·ic adjective
— po·ly·ma·thy noun
Origin of POLYMATH
Greek polymathēsvery learned, from poly- + manthanein to learn.First Known Use: 1621
|[b] Bookmark RF|
And, if you really want to think about how to make use of vocabulary, use a sentence that you might actually speak or write.
A sixteenth century polymath and essayist, Michel de Montaigne wrote his
reflective essays in a tower on his estate. His only companion was his cat.
Polymath. If kitty knows how to read and write—and possesses an unusual drive toward (nine) lifelong learning—s/he may join Montaigne's cat among an elite group of polymathic felines (or at least cats "owned" by polymathic humans).
|[c] Fieldnotes RF|