Share this entry
skeptic Syllabification: skep·tic
Pronunciation: /ˈskeptik/
(British sceptic)

Definition of skeptic in English:


1A person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.
Example sentences
  • How does he gain by fortressing himself and his administration away from critics, skeptics, and questioners?
  • He accepts there remain sceptics and doubters concerning the present Dublin side.
  • Cynics and sceptics raised uncomfortable questions, and found serious flaws with the script.
cynic, doubter;
pessimist, prophet of doom
1.1A person who doubts the truth of Christianity and other religions; an atheist or agnostic.
Example sentences
  • The most die-hard atheist or skeptic may suddenly find God when faced with an extreme suffering or danger.
  • The inevitable convergence of such findings with religion makes it impossible for a sceptic, atheist and man of science to swallow such phenomena.
  • On the contrary, he bracketed sceptics with atheists and free thinkers as the adversaries whom his system was meant to frustrate.
2 Philosophy An ancient or modern philosopher who denies the possibility of knowledge, or even rational belief, in some sphere.

The leading ancient skeptic was Pyrrho, whose followers at the Academy vigorously opposed Stoicism. Modern skeptics have held diverse views: the most extreme have doubted whether any knowledge at all of the external world is possible (see solipsism), while others have questioned the existence of objects beyond our experience of them

Example sentences
  • Xenophanes was a sceptic who denied that knowledge could be obtained by us humans; at best we merely have beliefs, the truth or falsity of which will remain largely unknown to us.
  • Ancient sceptics are uninterested in carving out a position within philosophy; they think that philosophical reason will always undermine itself.
  • In antiquity, sceptics attacked the possibility of knowledge, but still needed to give some account of how they regulated their lives and opinions.


Back to top  
another term for skeptical.


Late 16th century (sense 2 of the noun): from French sceptique, or via Latin from Greek skeptikos, from skepsis 'inquiry, doubt'.

Definition of skeptic in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources