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 The rules focus on how audit partners are paid—so that fees from consulting, which requires a certain degree of obsequiousness toward clients, do not overly slacken auditors’ skepticism toward those clients. Karthik Ramanna, Fortune, "The real problem with accounting firms: They don’t reward auditors that challenge clients," 11 July 2020 Amid growing skepticism about the Tokyo Olympics, a spokesperson professes optimism. oregonlive, "Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the sport continues to forge a path forward: Oregon track & field rundown," 10 July 2020 The same could be asked of Harper’s, which has made #MeToo skepticism something of a house brand. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Problem With Yascha Mounk’s Persuasion," 8 July 2020 Civil rights groups expressed skepticism about the report's likelihood of leading to changes. Brian Fung, CNN, "Facebook ad boycott organizers met with Zuckerberg. It didn't go well," 7 July 2020 Discussing his decision to participate in the 2020 season, Major League Baseball umpire Joe West expressed skepticism about how many of the more than 130,000 deaths in the United States have been a result of COVID-19. Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, "MLB umpire Joe West, 67, skeptical of coronavirus death count, won't opt out of season," 7 July 2020 House Republican leadership, led by leader Kevin McCarthy, has already outlined a limited set of policies to combat climate change, in an effort to appease young voters tired of the party’s skepticism toward the problem. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "House GOP under pressure from allies to support planks of Democratic climate plan," 7 July 2020 The regulator also is asking professional services firms to be more transparent about their audit businesses and for audit professionals to demonstrate ethical behavior and professional skepticism while conducting their work. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "U.K. Regulator Orders Big Four to Separate Audit Practices by 2024," 6 July 2020 Riccio seized on Bush’s skepticism in his closing remarks. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Maximum Security's Kentucky Derby DQ appeal was about everything except interference," 18 June 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

30 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skepticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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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