Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Same as skeptical.
  • noun 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.
  • noun One who doubts or disbelieves the fundamental principles of the Christian religion.
  • noun An adherent of a philosophical school in ancient Greece.
  • noun One who doubts concerning the truth of any particular proposition; one who has a tendency to question the virtue and integrity of most persons.
  • noun Synonyms Unbeliever, Free-thinker, etc. See infidel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a sceptic or skepticism; characterized by skepticism; hesitating to admit the certainly of doctrines or principles; doubting of everything.
  • adjective (Theol.) Doubting or denying the truth of revelation, or the sacred Scriptures.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Metaph.) 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.
  • noun (Theol.) 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs

Etymologies

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

[Latin Scepticus, disciple of Pyrrho of Elis, from Greek Skeptikos, from skeptesthai, to examine; see spek- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

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Examples

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

    The Volokh Conspiracy » “Climategate” and the Social Validation of Knowledge 2009

  • 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 2007

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

    Watts Up With That? Anthony Watts 2010

  • 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 2009

  • 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 2009

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

    Libertarian Blog Place 2009

  • 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 Nicole 2009

  • 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.

    What is a Skeptic? Nicole 2009

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

    Edgio really is an Edge Case « Squash 2006

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

    Ester Ried 1841-1930 Pansy 1885

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