ag·​nos·​ti·​cism ag-ˈnä-stə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce agnosticism (audio)
: an agnostic quality, state, or attitude:
: the view that any ultimate reality (such as a deity) is unknown and probably unknowable : a philosophical or religious position characterized by uncertainty about the existence of a god or any gods
Religious agnosticism may accept the ethical value of a religious way of living and even endorse religious ideas as a viable basis for understanding various aspects of human existence.Gary Gutting
: an attitude of doubt or uncertainty about something
This purposeful agnosticism, which served the tobacco industry well, will sound eerily familiar to anyone following the global warming "debate"—another case in which a few pedigreed skeptics, whose views align with those of a powerful industry, are framing consensus as controversy.Jonathan Miles
The developers of quantum mechanics, attempting to describe the electron's charge or mass or momentum or energy or spin in almost every new equation, nevertheless maintained a silent agnosticism about certain issues of its existence.James Gleick

Examples of agnosticism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But George Eliot was intensely sincere in both her agnosticism and her moralism. James Wood, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 No one could deny her extraordinary singing, but secularists resisted its divine source, crediting DeMent’s agnosticism. Armond White, National Review, 28 Apr. 2023 Wendy Tan White: One of the things that’s really important to make robotics accessible is agnosticism. IEEE Spectrum, 15 May 2023 The country has seen a gradual rise in agnosticism in recent years. Reuters, CNN, 11 Dec. 2020 The agnosticism of Zoom compared to Google and Microsoft means the company has the opposite goal of big tech: rather than lock users into a walled garden, Zoom created a flawless and viral mechanism where users can share web and audio-conferencing links without needing to login. Beth Kindig, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 Our humanism is a Euro-American ideology, and its keynotes are progress, liberal individualism, agnosticism or atheism, and trusting the science. Dominic Green, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2023 Like … gender agnosticism. New York Times, 11 Oct. 2021 Secret, via a bit of quasi-mysticist agnosticism. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 31 Dec. 2010 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'agnosticism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


agnostic entry 2 + -ism

First Known Use

1848, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of agnosticism was in 1848

Dictionary Entries Near agnosticism

Cite this Entry

“Agnosticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

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