Definition of gnostic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnɒstɪk/


1Relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge.
Example sentences
  • For some pavements such a religious symbolism has been suggested: examples at Brading and Littlecote have been seen as representing ‘Orphic’ or gnostic (mystical knowledge) ideas.
  • And also, before the 300s (and many times afterwards) there were plenty of religious authority figures in gnostic sects both within and outside the church.
  • I am aware that between the second and the fourth centuries various gnostic heresies admitted women to all levels of priesthood.
1.1 (Gnostic) Relating to Gnosticism.
Example sentences
  • The Gospel of Philip is a Gnostic text, and Gnostic thought would have no place in first century Palestinian Judaism.
  • Yes, the Gospel of Thomas can be read in terms of spiritual transformation, but so can the Gospel of John - indeed, it was demonstrably read that way both by Gnostic interpreters like Heracleon and orthodox interpreters like Origen.
  • It is a collection of sayings of Jesus, shorn of most narrative setting, and often Gnostic in feel, presenting Jesus as a teacher of esoteric wisdom.


(Gnostic) An adherent of Gnosticism.
Example sentences
  • The distortions of the Marcionites, Gnostics, and Montanists were carefully examined under the criteria of apostolic testimony.
  • Most of the early Church's toiling over Christ's humanity took place in terms less extreme than those of the Gnostics or of Tertullian.
  • The argument put forth by Elaine Pagels and others is that Gnostics were a vibrant community that sought refuge from Roman power in cults that endorsed personal revelations.


Late 16th century (as a noun): via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek gnōstikos, from gnōstos 'known' (related to gignōskein 'know').

Words that rhyme with gnostic

acrostic, agnostic, diagnostic, prognostic

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gnos|tic

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