Saturday, January 4, 2014




To give credit where credit is due, you have to know that I picked up this word from Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.  If you're not a fan of his it doesn't matter, because it is the word that I am using for today, not the man.  Interestingly enough, while researching this word I found its definition on the website called Worthless Word for the Day!

Well worthless it may be, but in its time it meant trouble for some people.   Zoilus was a Greek Cynic philosoper -- a classical Greek grammarian to be exact.  I've no idea what a Cynic philosopher is and how they differ from any other kind of philosophers of which there are many varieties apparently.  Even though I did at one time study New Testament Greek, ancient Greek history and classical Greek literature are way beyond my depth!  So I had to do a little research and filter down what I found, to something understandable and hopefully of some interest.

ZOILUS is remembered by some (not too many actually), for being a relentless literary critic of  Homer, the author of The Iliad and The Odessey.  It seems he wrote quite a few papers on the topic of Homer's inadequacies.  Sorry, I can't get into what those are right now though I'm sure you're dying to know!  So our first piece of useable information is that Zoilus was famous for being highly critical of Homer.

From Zoilus the word Zoilist was derived and came to mean 'someone who indulges in nagging, carping criticism'.  Although Zoilus lived approximately 400 B. C. , during the 17th century a group of French scholars became known as the French Zoilists who I gather were actually continuing the arguments Zoilus began so many centuries before. Not sure what became of that.

In all this checking,the only other worthwhile piece of information I found was that there is an old disused proverb which says, "Every poet has his Zoilist".  Which means that if you are a poet, you're bound to have someone who will negatively criticize your work.

Finally, the Urban Dictionary defines a Zoilist as  "a rude, nasty, or dishonest critic that enjoys finding faults in others."


The only person I could think of who might merit the description of being a Zoilist is Scrooge.  I wonder if you can find a better example.


So there you have my scintillating words of wisdom for the last letter of our thirteenth round of ABC Wednesday, the letter Z.   Thank you to Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green as well as their trusty team of cohorts for their masterful leadership of this meme.  If you would like to see more entries inspired by the letter Z, please click HERE.


photowannabe said...

Now that's a new word for me.
I wonder how I can use it today?
Interesting post Chris.

Leslie: said...

Wow! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I bet lots of men would call their mothers-in-law "Zoilists." lol

snafu said...

An interesting word. It is in a book that Kaybee gave me about unusual words, which I consult now and then. I cannot think of any person who fits the bill offhand, but I am sure I must have come across more than during my lifetime. Great finish to the ABC Wednesday.

GingerV said...

first of all no knowledge is worthless, so if you know this word - it has been given value.