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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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for skeptics
  • The skeptics retort that disease is a more likely explanation for the wrist bones.
  • But biofuel skeptics were seeing warning flags everywhere.
  • But string theory has always had a few vocal skeptics.
  • skeptics see a threat of state intrusions, or detect patriotic vanity.
  • The best way to protect reform, in turn, is to prove the skeptics wrong.
  • Yet the skeptics were wrong in some ways, too, because the event was not planned in advance by the military.
  • The evidence shows the so-called skeptics were wrong and the scientists were right.
  • It's the cause of the warming that skeptics question.
  • And how about the left's shameless demonization of skeptics, both from academia and among the hm.
  • They have conspired to denigrate skeptics and people attempting to replicate their proofs.
British Dictionary definitions for skeptics


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 skeptics



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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