Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



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.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


also scepticism
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Life itself is a bubble and a skepticism, and a sleep within a sleep.
The ardors of piety agree at last with the coldest skepticism,--that nothing is of us or our works,--that all is of God.
The new statement will comprise the skepticisms as well as the faiths of society, and out of unbeliefs a creed shall be formed.
The old prince had changed in appearance only by the loss of a tooth, which left a noticeable gap on one side of his mouth; in character he was the same as ever, only showing still more irritability and skepticism as to what was happening in the world.
But a look of indolence, the result of skepticism or of a taste too fastidious to be satisfied by the prizes and conclusions so easily within his grasp, lent him an expression almost of melancholy.
He had half hoped that she might hint that his love would be acceptable--certainly there was due him at least a little gratitude for his recent acts in her behalf; but the best he received was cold skepticism.
Ghek made no reply, nor did his expressionless face denote either belief or skepticism. The girl looked into the face of the man questioningly.
Scholars of history, philosophy, and political science explore how thinkers of the 18th century challenged resurgent philosophical skepticism and gradually tamed it to bring about an anxious confidence in the powers of human understanding.
Regarding the skepticism that France and the Netherlands demonstrate as far as setting a date for opening membership negotiations is concerned, Ambassador Thimonier says that the governments of the two countries believe in Macedonia yet the local public is skeptical.
Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism, DAVID J.
In this research, we attempt to investigate both content and process in ethical decision making by examining the impact of the relationship between corruption awareness in society/organizations, and ethical sensitivity and professional skepticism (as ethical intention and evaluation).
However, due to increasing concerns about greenwashing or exaggerated product sustainability claims (e.g., Royne, Levy, and Martinez 2011), it also seems possible that some consumers might question sustainability labeling systems and that this potential for skepticism might attenuate any potential benefits for organizations providing information.