a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
- One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
- Relating to or being an agnostic.
- Doubtful or noncommittal: “Though I am agnostic on what terms to use, I have no doubt that human infants come with an enormous 'acquisitiveness' for discovering patterns” ( William H. Calvin )
- Computers Operable or functioning using any operating system or other digital technology. Often used in combination: software that is platform agnostic.
Origin of agnostic a- 1 Gnostic
Related Forms:Word History:
Agnostics do not deny the existence of God—instead, they hold that one cannot know for certain whether or not God exists. The term agnostic
was coined by the 19th-century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley, who believed that only material phenomena were objects of exact knowledge. He made up the word from the prefix a-,
meaning “without, not,” as in amoral,
and the noun Gnostic. Gnostic
is related to the Greek word gnōsis,
“knowledge,” which was used by early Christian writers to mean “higher, esoteric knowledge of spiritual things”; hence, Gnostic
referred to those with such knowledge. In coining the term agnostic,
Huxley was considering as “Gnostics” a group of his fellow intellectuals—“ists,” as he called them—who had eagerly embraced various doctrines or theories that explained the world to their satisfaction. Because he was a “man without a rag of a label to cover himself with,” Huxley coined the term agnostic
for himself, its first published use being in 1870.
- A person who holds to a form of agnosticism, especially uncertainty of the existence of a deity.
(comparative more agnostic, superlative most agnostic)
- Of or relating to agnosticism or its adherents.
- His agnostic viewpoint is summarized in his book.
- Doubtful or uncertain about the existence or demonstrability of God or other deity.
- She left the church when she became agnostic.
- (computing) A software component (other entity) that is unaware or noncommittal regarding the specific nature of the components with which it interacts; polymorphic; modular; pluggable
- The socket communications layer is agnostic with regard to its underlying transport mechanism -- it is “transport-agnostic”.
- (usually with a prepositional phrase) Having no firmly held opinions on an issue or matter of uncertainty.
- I'm agnostic on whether ethanol is a green fuel
- He says he's agnostic concerning the Secretary's claims.
First attested in 1870; coined by Thomas Huxley. Either from Ancient Greek ἄγνωστος (agnōstos, “ignorant, not knowing”) or from a- + Gnostic. Deriving (either way) from Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-, “not”) + γιγνώσκω (gignōskō, “I know”).