skep·​ti·​cism ˈskep-tə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce skepticism (audio)
: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
: the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
: the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
: doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)
Choose the Right Synonym for skepticism

uncertainty, doubt, dubiety, skepticism, suspicion, mistrust mean lack of sureness about someone or something.

uncertainty may range from a falling short of certainty to an almost complete lack of conviction or knowledge especially about an outcome or result.

assumed the role of manager without hesitation or uncertainty

doubt suggests both uncertainty and inability to make a decision.

plagued by doubts as to what to do

dubiety stresses a wavering between conclusions.

felt some dubiety about its practicality

skepticism implies unwillingness to believe without conclusive evidence.

an economic forecast greeted with skepticism

suspicion stresses lack of faith in the truth, reality, fairness, or reliability of something or someone.

regarded the stranger with suspicion

mistrust implies a genuine doubt based upon suspicion.

had a great mistrust of doctors

Examples of skepticism in a Sentence

She regarded the researcher's claims with skepticism. It's good to maintain a healthy skepticism about fad diets.
Recent Examples on the Web He is joined in his skepticism, up to a point, by his longtime friend Ariadne Oliver (a very welcome Tina Fey), a successful mystery novelist who functioned in the books as a self-parodying avatar for Christie herself. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 The past 6 months have been incredibly difficult, with a lot of confusion and skepticism. oregonlive, 13 Sep. 2023 Now the media have lost that skepticism; the press is biased in favor of leftist ideology, and intelligence agencies are no longer scrutinized by reporters (or the ACLU). Armond White, National Review, 13 Sep. 2023 Those disagreements flared during the pandemic, when even basic health information became a target for skepticism or misinformation. Lindsay Gellman, STAT, 8 Sep. 2023 Given the volatility of both sectors, there was immediate skepticism that CAA would flourish under the TPG umbrella. Matt Donnelly, Variety, 7 Sep. 2023 Then there’s the limited styles on offer, and lingering skepticism from would-be buyers. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2023 The candidate’s skepticism of civil rights movements traces back to his early public persona. Globe Staff,, 1 Sep. 2023 At a recent radio conference in Dallas, Texas, many expressed skepticism about the presence of AI in their industry. Cheri Preston, ABC News, 4 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of skepticism was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near skepticism

Cite this Entry

“Skepticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


skep·​ti·​cism ˈskep-tə-ˌsiz-əm How to pronounce skepticism (audio)
: an attitude of doubt

More from Merriam-Webster on skepticism

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