skep·ti·cism | \ ˈskep-tə-ˌsi-zəm \

Definition of skepticism 

1 : an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object

2a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain

b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics

3 : doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)

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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

No one has staked a claim to the confusing, self-defeating space between hype and entitlement, and then skepticism and resignation, like the English. Brian Straus,, "England's New Three Lions Appear to Be a Different Animal at This World Cup," 24 June 2018 There has been widespread skepticism and curiosity as to why the Kings, who do not have a first-round pick in 2019, would take a chance on a player coming off a back injury so early in the draft. Jason Jones, sacbee, "The Kings need a potential star. Why drafting Michael Porter Jr. makes the most sense," 18 June 2018 Realize there’s a difference between skepticism and cynicism, that one is constructive and the other childish. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "We Must Improve Our Trust," 31 May 2018 For most boys, such certainty gives way to skepticism and self-doubt. Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "Imperfect answers: A JBER soldier was killed in action, and his parents ask why," 27 May 2018 But despite all the skepticism that surrounded them – and some of it was growing even from the inside, by the way – this looks very much like the kind of team that could pull off its first back-to-back title (and a third in four years). Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "No Steph Curry, no problem: Warriors make statement with 22-point Game 1 win over Pelicans," 29 Apr. 2018 The new brand has endured skepticism and naming battles, but its plan has taken one step closer to reality as Lynk & Co unveils its third model, the 02 SUV, and maps out details for its rollout in Europe. Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "Lynk & Co Unveils the 02 SUV, Its Third Vehicle," 27 Mar. 2018 So perhaps next month in Austin, there will be a little less skepticism, and a little more willingness to believe. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "As Manziel mounts a comeback, time is on his side," 19 Feb. 2018 Now, the North Koreans appear to be expressing their own skepticism. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Mike Pence As a 'Political Dummy:' How U.S.-North Korea Talks Reverted to Name-Calling and Nuclear Threats," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skepticism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of skepticism

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for skepticism

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for skepticism

The first known use of skepticism was in 1646

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More Definitions for skepticism



English Language Learners Definition of skepticism

: an attitude of doubting the truth of something (such as a claim or statement)

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Comments on skepticism

What made you want to look up skepticism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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