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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Even seemingly good news was received with skepticism. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Recent housing, homeless developments give little cause for optimism," 7 June 2019 Expectations were sky-high and tinged with skepticism. Jonathan Coe, Time, "How Brexit Broke Britain and Revealed a Country at War With Itself," 6 June 2019 But the observation was greeted with skepticism because Yana was separated from America’s Clovis sites by 18,000 years, many hundreds of miles, and even the glaciers of the last Ice Age. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Ancient DNA Reveals Complex Story of Human Migration Between Siberia and North America," 5 June 2019 Her discovery was received with deep skepticism at the time given that scientists believed cancer was viral. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 His pledge was met with skepticism given the numerous challenges the government faces. Baba Ahmed, The Seattle Times, "Militia head refutes his group responsible for Mali massacre," 25 Mar. 2019 The report comes shortly after South Sudan's latest attempt at peace, which was signed last week but has been met with skepticism by the United States and others. Sam Mednick, Fox News, "Report: South Sudan troops raped, killed while peace pursued," 19 Sep. 2018 The line's got two different types of face washes: a foaming cleanser and a walnut scrub (which was met with some skepticism on social media when Jenner announced it). Glamour, "We Tried Everything From Kylie Skin—Here Are Our First Impressions," 22 May 2019 Colton's parents, The Underwoods, put the other Underwoods to shame with their shade and skepticism towards Cassie. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Why 'The Bachelor' Finale Grossed Me Out," 13 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of skepticism

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about skepticism

Dictionary Entries near skepticism








Statistics for skepticism

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skepticism

The first known use of skepticism was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for skepticism



English Language Learners Definition of skepticism

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!