Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.
  • n. One inclined to skepticism in religious matters.
  • n. Philosophy An adherent of a school of skepticism.
  • n. Philosophy A member of an ancient Greek school of skepticism, especially that of Pyrrho of Elis (360?-272? B.C.).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Someone who habitually doubts beliefs and claims presented as accepted by others, requiring strong evidence before accepting any belief or claim.
  • n. Someone undecided as to what is true.
  • n. A type of agnostic

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a sceptic or skepticism; characterized by skepticism; hesitating to admit the certainly of doctrines or principles; doubting of everything.
  • adj. Doubting or denying the truth of revelation, or the sacred Scriptures.
  • n. One who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons.
  • n. A doubter as to whether any fact or truth can be certainly known; a universal doubter; a Pyrrhonist; hence, in modern usage, occasionally, a person who questions whether any truth or fact can be established on philosophical grounds; sometimes, a critical inquirer, in opposition to a dogmatist.
  • n. A person who doubts the existence and perfections of God, or the truth of revelation; one who disbelieves the divine origin of the Christian religion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Same as skeptical.
  • n. One who suspends his judgment, and holds that the known facts do not warrant a conclusion concerning a given fundamental question; a thinker distinguished for the length to which he carries his doubts; also, one who holds that the real truth of things cannot be known in any case; one who will not affirm or deny anything in regard to reality as opposed to appearance.
  • n. One who doubts or disbelieves the fundamental principles of the Christian religion.
  • n. An adherent of a philosophical school in ancient Greece.
  • n. One who doubts concerning the truth of any particular proposition; one who has a tendency to question the virtue and integrity of most persons.
  • n. Synonyms Unbeliever, Free-thinker, etc. See infidel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs

Etymologies

Latin Scepticus, disciple of Pyrrho of Elis, from Greek Skeptikos, from skeptesthai, to examine; see spek- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin *scepticus, only in plural Sceptici ("the sect of Skeptics"), from Ancient Greek σκεπτικός (skeptikos, "thoughtful, inquiring"), from σκέπτομαι (skeptomai, "I consider"), compare to σκοπέω (skopeo, "I view, examine"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • My question to Judith is how and why is the term skeptic hardly ever used anymore and only the perjorative term “denialist” used instead?

    Pain in Maine, but they can measure rain « Climate Audit

  • Next, putting quotation marks around the term skeptic is an ad-hom attempt to play the skeptic card.

    Watts Up With That?

  • Dr Ball on the other hand does not deserve to be dignified by the term skeptic, "psudeo-skeptic" would be a much more accurate description.

    RealClimate

  • The trouble is, as Brian's post on the excellent video debunking of climate 'gate' shows, when people are willing to jump to crazy and unsubstantiated conclusions at the slightest provocation, the term skeptic just doesn't cut it.

    TreeHugger

  • Actually, the label skeptic gets applied with a rather broad brush in the rather vitriolic discussions at climate blogs.

    Libertarian Blog Place

  • For this reason, I think that to be a skeptic is the most practical way to be, and that skepticism is actually the most inclusive term.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • Most businesses fail in some way, so being a skeptic is always a safe bet.

    Edgio really is an Edge Case « Squash

  • I'm what they call a skeptic myself, but after all, I don't quite like to see a lady become one.

    Ester Ried

  • The science of climate change, however, unlike many but not all other subjects taught in universities, has been subject to organized and now well-documented disinformation campaigns by political groups, the oil and gas lobby, the coal industry, etc., what I call the skeptic industrial complex.

    maribo

  • In fact, the word "skeptic" comes from the Greek skeptikos, for "thoughtful."

    Michael Shermer: The Power of Positive Skepticism: A Reply to Deepak Chopra

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