A pantomath means, etymologically, a person who knows everything. Given that the actual instances of the word usage in written works are so counted, most statements about the usage or the meaning of the word are bound to remain speculative. The word itself is not to be found in common online English dictionaries, the OED, dictionaries of obscure words, or dictionaries of neologisms.
Since there are no omniscient human beings, logic dictates that there are no literal nonfictional pantomaths, but the word pantomath seems to have been used to imply a polymath in a superlative sense, a ne plus ultra (nothing more beyond) as it were, one who satisfies requirements even stricter than those to be applied to the polymath. In theory, a pantomath is not to be confused with a polymath in its less strict sense, much less with the related but very different terms philomath and know-it-all.
A pantomath (pantomathēs, παντομαθής, meaning "having learnt all", from the Greek roots παντ- 'all, every' and the root μαθ-, meaning "learning, understanding") is a person whose astonishingly wide interests and knowledge span the entire range of the arts and sciences.
Typically used to convey the sense that a great individual has achieved a pinnacle of learning, that an "automath" has taken autodidacticism to an endpoint.
As an example, the obscure and rare term seems to have been applied to those with an astonishingly wide knowledge and interests by these two authors from different eras: An article stated that G. M. Young was called a pantomath, as did Rupert Hart-Davis.
The following example attempts to illustrate the occurrence of these "polymaths in a superlative sense"; (however, it should not be taken as implying that there is a source where the word pantomath is used to describe Goethe). According to a critical view, Goethe's monumental breadth of knowledge and accomplishments, together with his serene, supernal wisdom, a wisdom which has been described as aloof, even inhuman, made him worthy of the denomination "Olympian".
- Jackson, Kevin. Cover Story: Clever is as clever does, The Independent, 11 July 2004.
- Lyttleton Letters Annos I