skep·​ti·​cism | \ ˈskep-tə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce skepticism (audio) \

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 China’s ability to sustain investor interest depends on the long-term strength of its economy, of which there should be some skepticism. Kevin Warsh, WSJ, "Beijing’s Bid for Financial Supremacy," 4 Jan. 2021 Biden acknowledged one of his challenges will be public skepticism about the safety of a vaccine. Tim Darnell, ajc, "CDC warns of new COVID strain; U.S. sets record for deaths, hospitalizations," 30 Dec. 2020 Still, western makers have disclosed more detail and data from their trials, and there’s likely to be more skepticism over taking Chinese shots globally., "China Plans to Vaccinate 50 Million by Early February," 18 Dec. 2020 There's skepticism in Black, Latino communities about COVID-19 vaccines. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, "FDA advisory committee to consider second COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Moderna, during all-day meeting," 18 Dec. 2020 Proponents of the measure acknowledged that there was deep skepticism about a COVID-19 shot. Jenna Carlesso,, "The COVID-19 shot is complicating Connecticut lawmakers’ efforts to eliminate the state’s religious exemption from vaccines," 15 Dec. 2020 Toix Cerna, a cycling advocate in Manila, said that while the bike lane plan was a major milestone, there was still widespread skepticism among local officials toward biking as a means of transport. New York Times, "When the Trains Stopped, Cyclists Dodged Manila’s Choking Traffic," 13 Dec. 2020 So when former Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey transferred to Northwestern for his last year of eligibility in 2020, there was some healthy skepticism. Star Tribune, "Roller coaster-riding Northwestern football is back on top," 11 Nov. 2020 But from some observers of the genre, there is already skepticism. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, "On reality TV, race becomes impossible to ignore," 10 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for skepticism

Time Traveler

The first known use of skepticism was in 1646

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Statistics for skepticism

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Skepticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for skepticism


How to pronounce skepticism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of skepticism

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

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