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

  • noun One of an ancient sect of Hindu ascetics who wore little or no clothing and were devoted to mystical contemplation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.

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

  • noun 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One of a school of ancient Indian ascetic philosophers, reported in antiquity, who wore little clothing; a mystic.

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

  • noun member of a Hindu sect practicing gymnosophy (especially nudism)


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

[Middle English gumnosophist, from sing. of Latin gymnosophistae, from Greek gumnosophistai : gumnos, naked; see nogw- in Indo-European roots + sophistēs, expert; see sophist.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French gymnosophiste, from Latin gymnosophistae, from Ancient Greek γυμνοσοφισταί, from γυμνός ("naked") + σοφιστής ("sophist").


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  • These wandering priests are at present known in Africa by the name of Marabut. The first gymnosophists of Ethiopia most probably were nothing more.

    - Smollett, note on his translation of Lesage's The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, bk 5 ch. 1

    September 19, 2008

  • Lit. "naked expert".

    April 18, 2011