one of a group of Jainist philosophers, existing from ancient times to c1000, characterized by refusal to wear clothes and the abandonment of caste marks; a member of the Digambara sect.

Origin of gymnosophist

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin gymnosophistae Indian ascetics < Greek gymnosophistaí naked philosophers. See gymno-, sophist
Related formsgym·nos·o·phy, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of gymnosophist

British Dictionary definitions for gymnosophist



one of a sect of naked Indian ascetics who regarded food or clothing as detrimental to purity of thought
Derived Formsgymnosophy, noun

Word Origin for gymnosophist

C16: from Latin gymnosophistae, from Greek gumnosophistai naked philosophers
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 gymnosophist

c.1400, from Greek gymnosophistai "the naked philosophers," from gymnos "naked" (see naked) + sophistes "sophist" (see sophist). Ancient Hindu holy men whose self-denial extended to clothes; they were known to the Greeks through the reports of Alexander the Great's soldiers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper