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In my idiolect:
-cognoscente="one who, as the result of their elite powers of taste and specialized knowledge, serves as an arbiter of quality in some field"
-connoisseur="one who, as the result of their elite powers of taste and specialized knowledge, is able to deeply appreciate high-quality examples of some field"

Of course, this is kind of silly; etymologically speaking they're exactly the same word. Is it uniquely silly to me, or do other people see these connotations as well?

(Unrelatedly, I learned tonight that I apparently had a nemesis in high school. Who knew?)

Date: 2009-04-22 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kira-dancing.livejournal.com
(Oooooh, was it me? Nah, I would have had to be your elementary school nemesis...)

And yes, I see those connotations-- etymology isn't everything; that's how they're used, and so I do perceive a difference when I hear them. Oh, words. :0)

Date: 2009-04-22 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tortoise.livejournal.com
Yeah, I certainly don't mean to suggest that they should be required to have the same meaning given their etymologies (though, on rereading my entry, I kind of did). The question is, given that the difference didn't come from the etymologies, where did it come from? The only thing I've been able to think of is some kind of national stereotyping (the French are hedonists, while the Italians started the Renaissance and must therefore be the arbiters of taste) but that feels like a just-so story. The OED doesn't really say anything about a distinction; their definition of "cognoscente" uses "connoisseur", and their definition of "connoisseur" is much closer to my definition of "cognoscente".

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