- 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
- of, relating to, or possessing knowledge, esp esoteric spiritual knowledge
- an adherent of Gnosticism
- of or relating to Gnostics or to Gnosticism
Word Origin and History for gnostical
"relating to knowledge," 1650s, from Greek gnostikos "knowing, able to discern," from gnostos "known, perceived, understood," from gignoskein "to learn, to come to know" (see know).
1580s, "believer in a mystical religious doctrine of spiritual knowledge," from Late Latin Gnosticus, from Late Greek Gnostikos, noun use of adj. gnostikos "knowing, able to discern," from gnostos "knowable," from gignoskein "to learn, to come to know" (see know). Applied to various early Christian sects that claimed direct personal knowledge beyond the Gospel or the Church hierarchy.