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also scep·ti·cism  (skĕp′tĭ-sĭz′əm)
1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety. See Synonyms at uncertainty.
2. Philosophy
a. The ancient school of Pyrrho of Elis that stressed the uncertainty of our beliefs in order to oppose dogmatism.
b. The doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general.
c. A methodology based on an assumption of doubt with the aim of acquiring approximate or relative certainty.
3. Doubt or disbelief of religious tenets.


or scep•ti•cism

(ˈskɛp təˌsɪz əm)

1. skeptical attitude or temper.
2. doubt or unbelief regarding religion.
3. (cap.) the doctrines or opinions of philosophical Skeptics.

skepticism, scepticism

a personal disposition toward doubt or incredulity of facts, persons, or institutions. See also 312. PHILOSOPHY. — skeptic, n., adj.skeptical, adj.
See also: Attitudes
the doctrines or opinions of philosophical Skeptics, especially the doctrine that a true knowledge of things is impossible or that all knowledge is uncertain. Cf. Pyrrhonism.Skeptic, Sceptic, n.
See also: Philosophy



doubting Thomas A skeptic, a doubter or disbeliever; one who believes only on the basis of firsthand proof or physical evidence. The original doubting Thomas was the apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that Christ had risen from the dead after His crucifixion until he saw Him for himself.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. (John 20:24-25)

from Missouri Skeptical, doubting, suspicious; unwilling to accept something as true without proof. Original use of the phrase I’m from Missouri; you’ve got to show me is generally attributed to Congressman Willard D. Vandiver of Missouri in a speech delivered to the Five O’Clock Club of Philadelphia in 1899. However, others have claimed that the expression was commonly known in parts of the country long before the Congressman popularized it by employing it in this speech.

tell it to the marines An expression of disbelief or skepticism, said in response to a tall tale, a fish story, or any farfetched account. This originally British expression dates from the early 19th century. There are two popular explanations for its origin, one reflecting positively, the other negatively, upon the British Royal Marines. The more involved story is that Charles II said in response to a naval officer’s claim that he had seen flying fish, “Go, tell that to the Marines.” When accused of insulting the reputation of the Marines, Charles II responded that no slur was intended. To the contrary, he claimed that he would believe the story if the well-traveled and experienced Marines believed it. The second explanation, simple and more plausible, is that the Marines were proverbially gullible and would swallow any yarn. An analogous American slang expression is tell it to Sweeney.

with a grain of salt With skepticism; with reservations. This expression is based on the idea that a pinch of salt may make palatable something otherwise hard to swallow. Furthermore, Pompey (106-48 B.C.), a member of the first Roman triumvirate, once advocated the use of a grain of salt as an antidote against poison. One source suggests that the minuscule grain of salt may represent the amount of truth in a given statement, assurance, or other matter which has been accepted “with a grain of salt.” The expression occurs in many western European languages, usually in its Latin form, cum grano salis.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.skepticism - doubt about the truth of somethingskepticism - doubt about the truth of something  
doubt, doubtfulness, dubiety, dubiousness, incertitude, uncertainty - the state of being unsure of something
2.skepticism - the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledgeskepticism - the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge
unbelief, disbelief - a rejection of belief


also scepticism
References in periodicals archive ?
If the CSI crowd brought the modern skeptic movement to the plate, social media is now hitting the ball out of the park.
Like his ancient counterpart, the modern skeptic therefore suspends judgment.
Nor is it clear that all these authors count Descartes (on whom I shall be focusing here) as a modern skeptic on this point; some of them may have in mind only twentieth-century philosophers.