[ nos-tik ]
/ ˈnɒs tɪk /

adjective Also gnos·ti·cal.

pertaining to knowledge.
possessing knowledge, especially esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters.
(initial capital letter) pertaining to or characteristic of the Gnostics.


(initial capital letter) a member of any of certain sects among the early Christians who claimed to have superior knowledge of spiritual matters, and explained the world as created by powers or agencies arising as emanations from the Godhead.

Origin of gnostic

1555–65; < Late Latin Gnōsticī (plural) name of the sect < Greek gnōstikós (singular) pertaining to knowledge, equivalent to gnōst(ós) known + -ikos -ic

Related forms

gnos·ti·cal·ly, adverban·ti·gnos·tic, adjective, nounan·ti·gnos·ti·cal, adjectiveun·gnos·tic, adjective

Definition for gnostic (2 of 2)


a combination of -gnosis and -ic, used to form adjectives from stems ending in -gnosis: prognostic.

Origin of -gnostic

< Medieval Latin -gnōsticus < Greek gnōstikós pertaining to knowledge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gnostic

British Dictionary definitions for gnostic (1 of 2)



/ (ˈnɒstɪk) /


of, relating to, or possessing knowledge, esp esoteric spiritual knowledge

Derived Forms

gnostically, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for gnostic (2 of 2)


/ (ˈnɒstɪk) /


an adherent of Gnosticism


of or relating to Gnostics or to Gnosticism

Word Origin for Gnostic

C16: from Late Latin Gnosticī the Gnostics, from Greek gnōstikos relating to knowledge, from gnōstos known, from gignōskein to know
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