C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Sophistry is the fallacy of argument.


Some men weave their sophistry till their own reason is entangled.


Sophistry is only fit to make men more conceited in their ignorance.


When a false argument puts on the appearance of a true one, then it is properly called a sophism or fallacy.

Dr. Watts.

The juggle of sophistry consists, for the most part, in using a word in one sense in all the premises, and in another sense in the conclusion.


  • As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,
  • And hides the ruin that it feeds upon,
  • So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
  • Sin’s rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
  • Cowper.

  • Dogmatic jargon learnt by heart,
  • Trite sentences hard terms of art,
  • To vulgar ears seemed so profound,
  • They fancied learning in the sound.
  • Gay.

    There is no error which hath not some appearance of probability resembling truth, which, when men who study to be singular find out, straining reason, they then publish to the world matter of contention and jangling.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

    Sophistry, like poison, is at once detected and nauseated, when presented to us in a concentrated form; but a fallacy which, when stated barely in a few sentences, would not deceive a child, may deceive half the world, if diluted in a quarto volume.


    Genius may dazzle, eloquence may persuade, reason may convince; but to render popular cold and comfortless sophistry, unaided by these powers, is a hopeless attempt.

    Robert Hall.