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[skep-tik] /ˈskɛp tɪk/
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.
  1. 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.
  2. any later thinker who doubts or questions the possibility of real knowledge of any kind.
pertaining to skeptics or skepticism; skeptical.
(initial capital letter) pertaining to the Skeptics.
Also, sceptic.
1565-75; < Late Latin scepticus thoughtful, inquiring (in plural Scepticī the Skeptics) < Greek skeptikós, equivalent to sképt(esthai) to consider, examine (akin to skopeîn to look; see -scope) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
antiskeptic, noun
nonskeptic, adjective, noun
Can be confused
cynic, optimist, pessimist, skeptic.
3. doubter. See atheist.
3. believer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for skeptic
  • On the other hand, the skeptic in me can't stop thinking about how expensive a proposition this is.
  • My own extensive research and reading puts me conclusively in the skeptic category.
  • The auto industry had to dismiss him as a witness and bring in another climate skeptic scientist.
  • He will become a thoughtful skeptic who worries about the negative impact of technology on the human condition.
  • In the logic-tight compartments of my brain, my magic module had trumped my skeptic module.
  • What a skeptic might call nepotism, an optimist might term generational continuity.
  • But the results to date should convince the skeptic that small scale steam power should not be casually dismissed.
  • He was a genuine skeptic, about everything, even his own thoughts.
  • Or, more accurately, he was a global-warming skeptic until his own study confirmed what others had found before him.
  • Plait is a skeptic, and fights misuses of science as well as praising the wonder of real science.
British Dictionary definitions for skeptic


a person who habitually doubts the authenticity of accepted beliefs
a person who mistrusts people, ideas, etc, in general
a person who doubts the truth of religion, esp Christianity
of or relating to sceptics; sceptical
Derived Forms
scepticism, (archaic, US) skepticism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin scepticus, from Greek skeptikos one who reflects upon, from skeptesthai to consider


a member of one of the ancient Greek schools of philosophy, esp that of Pyrrho, who believed that real knowledge of things is impossible
of or relating to the Sceptics
Derived Forms
Scepticism, (archaic, US) Skepticism, noun


noun, adjective
an archaic, and the usual US, spelling of sceptic
Derived Forms
skeptical, adjective
skeptically, adverb
skepticalness, noun
skepticism, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for skeptic
1580s, "member of an ancient Gk. school that doubted the possibility of real knowledge," from Fr. sceptique, from L. scepticus, from Gk. skeptikos (pl. Skeptikoi "the Skeptics"), lit. "inquiring, reflective," the name taken by the disciples of the Gk. philosopher Pyrrho (c.360-c.270 B.C.E.), from skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view" (see scope (1)). The extended sense of "one with a doubting attitude" first recorded 1610s. The sk- spelling is an early 17c. Gk. revival and is preferred in U.S.
"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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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