I have been hearing the word "sapiosexual" referring to a person attracted to another because of the mental abilities, but attracted not in a sexual way, and I believe "sapiosexual" isn't the most accurate term for this context.

Is there a word to describe non-sexual attraction towards another person because of their wittiness/assertiveness/intelligence?

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    Hang on let me just ask my friends... – Marv Mills Apr 1 '15 at 9:40

"Sapiosexual" seems to be a very recent word, probably best described as "a clever word cooked up the other day and popular on the Internet". Sapiophile is another such neologism- you will find it in the same online dictionaries of slang as you find sapiosexual.

  • Sapiophile sounds like it ought to be less sexual than sapiosexual, but it’s not really—all definitions you find when trying to look up the term highlight the sexual and romantic aspect of the word just as much as they do for sapiosexual. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 1 '15 at 10:14
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    I agree with @JanusBahsJacquet however when I looked up "-phile" this came up "denoting a person or thing having a fondness for a specified thing", so with this separate definition it does not imply sexual attraction. The fact that these are such new words doesn't really help, but for now I think "sapiophile" is the most correct option :) – Purefan Apr 1 '15 at 11:33
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    The -phile suffix itself simply denotes fondness or love for something: it’s from the Ancient Greek verb φιλέω, meaning ‘like, love’ (referring to a non-sexual kind of love; the sexual kind being denoted by ἔραμαι instead). But in many modern words, it has taken over an overtly sexual meaning (paedophile and gerontophile spring to mind)—you never know how people will interpret a -phile word they’re not familiar with. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 1 '15 at 11:41
  • @JanusBahsJacquet- Whew, thanks! (I feel a lot better about "bibliophile") – Oldbag Apr 1 '15 at 12:02

sapiophile, n. observed in meetup announcements and elsewhere to solicit people drawn to intellectual pursuits with no connotation of sexual attraction. The derivation and morphology do not imply sexuality, and while Internet searches on the term now seem to lean toward sexual attraction (more aptly sapiosexual), that is not implicit in sapiophile itself or its needed availability for a very human urge to meet and associate with people who have sufficient intellectual candlepower to hold an intelligent conversation, an increasingly rare trait. --Alan Korwin, The Uninvited Ombudsman (PageNine.com), q.v.

  • The only thing is that the sex in "sapiophile" is hidden behind a Greek mistranslation. A "philia" is defined in English as an "unnatural attraction", the exact opposite of a "phobia", an "unnatural repulsion". In Greek, the term "philios", the root of the English suffix, refers specifically to a simple non-romantic (platonic) love, but in the English language, especially modern American English, love and sex are pretty inextricably linked, so the propriety of being a "phile" or "philiac" of anything is highly context-dependent. – KeithS May 12 '16 at 22:48

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