- a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.
- a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.
- a person who doubts the truth of a religion, especially Christianity, or of important elements of it.
- (initial capital letter) Philosophy.
- a member of a philosophical school of ancient Greece, the earliest group of which consisted of Pyrrho and his followers, who maintained that real knowledge of things is impossible.
- any later thinker who doubts or questions the possibility of real knowledge of any kind.
Origin of skeptic
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for skeptic
Given this tiny pool of survivors, a skeptic might ask why the story of the Mandans should matter to the contemporary reader?The Tribe at the Center of America: The Story of the Mandan
March 11, 2014
If you're a skeptic like me, this entire process sounds like one massive shake of the head from start to finish.Hook Up Apps Have Gone Too Far
March 7, 2014
In truth, I was a skeptic from day one, let the record show.Republicans Move to the Center? Nope, They’re Crazier Than Ever
August 21, 2013
Abrams is a skeptic, which he is well within his rights to be (a position this writer shares).Does Elliott Abrams Speak For American Jewish Leaders?
August 13, 2013
I was a skeptic, but lo and behold, the Judiciary Committee actually acted like the old Senate for a week.White People on Parade
May 30, 2013
Bob Wilson the skeptic, looked at his friend again critically.A Breath of Prairie and other stories
We know truth when we see it, let skeptic and scoffer say what they choose.Essays, First Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
He did not dare to tell her about his visions, for Frau Meiser was a skeptic, in her own way.The Man With The Broken Ear
He is what is called a divine nowadays; but used to be called a skeptic.Put Yourself in His Place
And thus the skeptic will be convinced, in spite of his own doctrine.A Thorny Path [Per Aspera], Complete
- an archaic, and the usual US, spelling of sceptic
Word Origin and History for skeptic
also sceptic, 1580s, "member of an ancient Greek school that doubted the possibility of real knowledge," from Middle French sceptique and directly from Latin scepticus "the sect of the Skeptics," from Greek skeptikos (plural Skeptikoi "the Skeptics, followers of Pyrrho"), noun use of adjective meaning "inquiring, reflective" (the name taken by the disciples of the Greek philosopher Pyrrho, who lived c.360-c.270 B.C.E.), related to skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view" (see scope (n.1)).
Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found. [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924]
The extended sense of "one with a doubting attitude" first recorded 1610s. The sk- spelling is an early 17c. Greek revival and is preferred in U.S. As a verb, scepticize (1690s) failed to catch on.