• synonyms


[nos-tuh-siz-uh m]
noun Christianity.
  1. a group of ancient heresies, stressing escape from this world through the acquisition of esoteric knowledge.
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Origin of Gnosticism

First recorded in 1660–70; Gnostic + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gnosticism

Historical Examples

  • Intellectualism and gnosticism are not confined to the church.

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe

  • But Reitzenstein avoids the difficulty by appealing to Gnosticism.

  • Gnosticism was a mixture of Hellenic, oriental, and Christian elements.

  • To a certain degree it shares with Gnosticism its anti-Jewish character.

    The Christ Myth

    Arthur Drews

  • To examine the history of Gnosticism is not a tempting undertaking.

British Dictionary definitions for gnosticism


  1. a religious movement characterized by a belief in gnosis, through which the spiritual element in man could be released from its bondage in matter: regarded as a heresy by the Christian Church
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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 gnosticism



1660s, from Gnostic + -ism.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper