- A person who expresses opinions on matters outside the scope of their knowledge or expertise.
- Expressing opinions on matters outside the scope of one’s knowledge or expertise.
“I try not to sit next to my ultracrepidarian aunt at family dinners, because she thinks she knows more about my job than I do.”
“If you come across an ultracrepidarian at a business function, just smile and nod until you can make an exit.”
“An ultracrepidarian will usually trip on their own lack of knowledge, so it’s not worth arguing with them.”
Latin, early 19th century
Why this word?
Here’s a bit of a snooty term with a silly origin story. “Ultracrepidarian” can be used as both an adjective and a noun to apply to a person who is expressing opinions on things outside the scope of their knowledge. It’s an annoying situation that we’ve probably all experienced, but it was documented in the first century in Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History” through the phrase ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret, or “the cobbler should not judge beyond his shoe.” Apparently the painter Appelles of Kos was a bit disgruntled at criticism from a cobbler and thought he should stick to footwear. The word “ultracrepidarian” (ultra means “beyond” and crepida means “shoe” or “sandal” in Latin) came about in the early 19th century from this story.
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