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

Some of this skepticism simply comes from the position Amazon finds itself in as the most powerful online retail company in the Western hemisphere — if not the world — run by the richest businessman on earth. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Taylor Swift caused a massive spike in voter registration with an Instagram post," 10 Oct. 2018 There was a lot of skepticism over whether that would ever happen,’’ Burgess told me last week. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Why the Seattle City Council voted in favor of KeyArena but not Chris Hansen’s Sodo project," 25 Sep. 2018 The end of Section 377 won’t necessarily be embraced across India, and there’s still a lot of skepticism about gay rights outside major urban centers and among conservative religious Hindu, Muslim, and Christian groups. Jen Kirby, Vox, "India just struck down a law banning gay sex," 6 Sep. 2018 Eli barely knows big brother at this point in his life, and Dad has plenty of skepticism, but Jimmy seems alright. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Kin: If you can’t pick your family, hopefully you can find space weapons," 1 Sep. 2018 Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s report reflects U.S. skepticism and a possible source of new acrimony ahead of the meeting in Buenos Aires aimed at defusing the dispute companies worry will chill global economic growth. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "US says China hacking increasing ahead of Trump-Xi meeting," 21 Nov. 2018 Several analysts expressed skepticism that Mr. Liu, known for his hands-on management, is planning to diminish his role. Shan Li, WSJ, "China’s Suffers Share Drop on Customer Decline, CEO Worries," 20 Nov. 2018 This story is being told by the older Elena, after all, and the whole tale has a filter of nostalgia that retains just enough skepticism to avoid curdling into schmaltz. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "HBO’s My Brilliant Friend adaptation is a knockout," 18 Nov. 2018 And conspiracy theorists on the right have taken this skepticism a step further, insisting that the migrants must be being funded and organized by people who oppose Trump. Liliana Frankel, Teen Vogue, "A Day in the Life of the Migrant Caravan," 16 Nov. 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

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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