• synonyms


  1. 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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gymnosophist

Historical Examples of gymnosophist

  • So much of truth is got from being a gymnosophist and regarding your own toes with aloof abstraction on a sunny Christmas morning.

    The Sea and the Jungle

    H. M. Tomlinson

  • Opposite Julian stood a lean man with a coppery skin; it was the gymnosophist—the naked sage—assistant of Maximus.

    The Death of the Gods

    Dmitri Mrejkowski

  • Two islands in India, one called Brahmin, and the other Gymnosophist.

British Dictionary definitions for gymnosophist


  1. one of a sect of naked Indian ascetics who regarded food or clothing as detrimental to purity of thought
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper