American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. One of an ancient sect of Hindu ascetics who wore little or no clothing and were devoted to mystical contemplation.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a sect of ancient Hindu philosophers who lived solitarily in the woods, wore little clothing, ate no flesh, renounced all bodily pleasures, and addicted themselves to mystical contemplation: so called by Greek writers. By some they are regarded as Brahmin penitents; others include among them a sect of Buddhist ascetics, the Shamans.
- n. One of a school of ancient Indian ascetic philosophers, reported in antiquity, who wore little clothing; a mystic.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. One of a sect of philosophers, said to have been found in India by Alexander the Great, who went almost naked, denied themselves the use of flesh, renounced bodily pleasures, and employed themselves in the contemplation of nature.
- n. member of a Hindu sect practicing gymnosophy (especially nudism)
- From French gymnosophiste, from Latin gymnosophistae, from Ancient Greek γυμνοσοφισταί, from γυμνός ("naked") + σοφιστής ("sophist"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English gumnosophist, from sing. of Latin gymnosophistae, from Greek gumnosophistai : gumnos, naked; see nogw- in Indo-European roots + sophistēs, expert; see sophist. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Then the gymnosophist asked, “What are you doing?” and Alexander said, “I am conquering the world.””
“As that gymnosophist in  Plutarch made answer to Alexander”
““Not so, O king,” replied the gymnosophist, “unless you said falsely that he should die first who made the worst answer.””
“But there is this about some women, which overtops the best gymnosophist among men, that they suffice to themselves, and can walk in a high and cold zone without the countenance of any trousered being.”
“But there is this about some women, which overtops the best gymnosophist among men, that they suffice themselves, and can walk in a high and cold zone without the countenance of any trousered being.”
“You listen and listen for some noise to break the silence, till you grow half mesmerised by the intensity of the strain; your sense of your own identity is troubled; your brain reels, like that of some gymnosophist poring on his own nose in Asiatic jungles; and should you see your own outspread feet, you see them, not as anything of yours, but as a feature of the scene around you.”
“As Walter lay awake for a few quiet moments before he sent his thoughts to rest, he glanced critically, like an Indian gymnosophist, over the occurrences of the day.”
“[691-1] Pilpay is supposed to have been a Brahmin gymnosophist, and to have lived several centuries before Christ.”
“Flames start out on every side through the partings of the beams; and the gymnosophist resumes:”
“Alexander asked, “What are you doing?” and the gymnosophist answered, “I’m experiencing nothingness.””
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