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[jim-nos-uh-fist] /dʒɪmˈnɒs ə fɪst/
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
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin gymnosophistae Indian ascetics < Greek gymnosophistaí naked philosophers. See gymno-, sophist
Related forms
gymnosophy, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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 Forms
gymnosophy, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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