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  1. knowledge of spiritual matters; mystical knowledge.

Origin of gnosis

1695–1705; < New Latin < Greek gnṓsis a seeking to know, equivalent to gnō-, base of gignṓskein know1 + -sis -sis


  1. a combining form meaning “knowledge,” used in the formation of compound words: prognosis.

Origin of -gnosis

< Latin -gnōsis < Greek; see gnosis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gnosis


noun plural -ses (-siːz)
  1. supposedly revealed knowledge of various spiritual truths, esp that said to have been possessed by ancient Gnostics

Word Origin

C18: ultimately from Greek: knowledge, from gignōskein to know


n combining form
  1. (esp in medicine) recognition or knowledgeprognosis; diagnosis
Derived Forms-gnostic, adj combining form

Word Origin

via Latin from Greek: gnosis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gnosis


"special knowledge of spiritual mysteries," 1703, from Greek gnosis "investigation, knowledge," in Christian writers, "higher knowledge of spiritual things" (see gnostic (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper