ag·nos·tic (ăg-nŏs’tĭk)
n. 1) 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. 2) One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
adj. 1) Relating to or being an agnostic. 2) 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). 3) Computers Operable or functioning using any operating system or other digital technology. Often used in combination: »

software that is platform agnostic.

[ A-(Cf. ↑a-)1 + GNOSTIC(Cf. ↑Gnostic).]
ag·nos’ti·cal·ly adv.
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.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Agnostically — Agnostic Ag*nos tic, a. [Gr. a priv. + ? knowing, ? to know.] Professing ignorance; involving no dogmatic; pertaining to or involving agnosticism. {Ag*nos tic*al*ly}, adv. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • agnostically — See agnostic. * * * …   Universalium

  • agnostically — adverb In an agnostic manner …   Wiktionary

  • agnostically — ag·nos·ti·cal·ly …   English syllables

  • agnostically — adverb see agnostic II …   Useful english dictionary

  • agnostic — agnostically, adv. /ag nos tik/, n. 1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. 2. a person who denies or …   Universalium

  • Duris Maxwell — (born June 15, 1946), also known as Ted Lewis, is a Canadian drummer who has played with many bands, including Bobby Taylor the Vancouvers, Powder Blues Band, Doucette, The Temptations, Jefferson Airplane, and Skylark. He has also played on the… …   Wikipedia

  • agnostic — /ægˈnɒstɪk / (say ag nostik) noun 1. someone who holds that the ultimate cause (God) and the essential nature of things are unknown or unknowable or that human knowledge is limited to experience. –adjective 2. relating to agnostics or their… …   Australian English dictionary

  • agnostic — [ag näs′tik] n. [coined (1870) by HUXLEY Thomas Henry < A 2 + GNOSTIC] a person who believes that the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena adj. of or characteristic of an… …   English World dictionary