How does one say "bookish" adj. (in the sense of possessing speculative but lacking practical reason or social skills) in Latin?

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    Smith & Hall actually has an entry for "bookish," though I doubt you'll [find it helpful] (latinitium.com/latin-dictionaries/?t=sh2814). Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 23:16
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    I don't think it's exactly what you're looking for, since it doesn't cover the lack of social skills aspect of bookishness, but one place to look may be the speech that Sallust has Marius deliver in §85 or thereabouts of the Bellum Jugurthinum. There's definitely a contrast drawn at some point between the corrupt and feckless nobles, who have fancy book learning, and Marius, who has practical knowledge of military affairs, born of experience. Whether he uses, in a negative way, any of the exact adjectives that Asteroides has identified below – or others – I don't recall. Just a thought.
    – cnread
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 5:33
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    Perhaps related: a question about the translation of nerd. graeculus and inconcinnus were two of the top options.
    – brianpck
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure of one that has a negative connotation built in. Scholasticus, taken from Greek σχολαστικός, might have had a similar connotation in some cases.

Per Lewis and Short:

As a term of reproach, a pedant: heus tu scholastice, Ap. Met. 2, 10, 6; Petr. 61, 4.

Litteratus, eruditus, doctus generally have a positive rather than negative connotation, but I think could probably be used ironically.

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