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First attested in 1808; from the Ancient Greek ὀψιμαθής (opsimathḗs, late in learning), ultimately from ὀψέ (opsé, late) and μανθάνω (manthánō, I learn); compare opsimathy, philomath, and polymath.


opsimath (plural opsimaths)

  1. (rare) A person who learns late in life.[1]
    • 1808, Palaeus, "Stipendiary Curates: Fox's Historical Work," in The Gentleman's Magazine, June, p. 480:
      But with reference to the latter, I may be permitted to say, that from the dissipation and idleness of his earlier years, Mr. Fox in Greek and Roman Literature was necessarily an Opsimath.
    • 1951, L. A. Bisson, "French Literature 1789-1914," in R. L. Graeme Ritchie (ed.), A Companion to French Studies, Methuen, p. 297:
      The truth is that Zola was an opsimath, who had read Stendhal, Flaubert, Balzac, the Goncourts and Taine late in life.
    • 2010, Philip Shepherd, New Self, New World, →ISBN, p. 451:
      I consider myself something of an opsimath, one who has been blessed with remarkable teachers and friends to assist my slow journey towards the experiences and understanding I was so keen to realize.

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  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed., 2004.