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skeptic

or scep·tic

[skep-tik]
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noun
  1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.
  2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.
  3. a person who doubts the truth of a religion, especially Christianity, or of important elements of it.
  4. (initial capital letter) Philosophy.
    1. a member of a philosophical school of ancient Greece, the earliest group of which consisted of Pyrrho and his followers, who maintained that real knowledge of things is impossible.
    2. any later thinker who doubts or questions the possibility of real knowledge of any kind.
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adjective
  1. pertaining to skeptics or skepticism; skeptical.
  2. (initial capital letter) pertaining to the Skeptics.
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Origin of skeptic

1565–75; < Late Latin scepticus thoughtful, inquiring (in plural Scepticī the Skeptics) < Greek skeptikós, equivalent to sképt(esthai) to consider, examine (akin to skopeîn to look; see -scope) + -ikos -ic
Related formsan·ti·skep·tic, nounnon·skep·tic, adjective, noun
Can be confusedcynic optimist pessimist skeptic

Synonyms

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3. doubter.

Synonym study

3. See agnostic.

Antonyms

3. believer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for skeptic

skeptic

noun, adjective
  1. an archaic, and the usual US, spelling of sceptic
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Derived Formsskeptical, adjectiveskeptically, adverbskepticalness, nounskepticism, noun
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 skeptic

n.

also sceptic, 1580s, "member of an ancient Greek school that doubted the possibility of real knowledge," from Middle French sceptique and directly from Latin scepticus "the sect of the Skeptics," from Greek skeptikos (plural Skeptikoi "the Skeptics, followers of Pyrrho"), noun use of adjective meaning "inquiring, reflective" (the name taken by the disciples of the Greek philosopher Pyrrho, who lived c.360-c.270 B.C.E.), related to skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view" (see scope (n.1)).

Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found. [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924]

The extended sense of "one with a doubting attitude" first recorded 1610s. The sk- spelling is an early 17c. Greek revival and is preferred in U.S. As a verb, scepticize (1690s) failed to catch on.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper