Definition of agnostic in English:



  • A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.

    • ‘They may presumably be Christians belonging to other churches, or they may be Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, religious or secular humanists, agnostics or atheists.’
    • ‘All individuals (believers, agnostics or atheists) will naturally have a mixture to varying degrees, and they will differ across cultures.’
    • ‘It is, in its religious dimension, one of the most vital elements that go to make up the identity of believers and their conception of life, but it is also a precious asset for atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the unconcerned.’
    • ‘Of the four people in the sample that identified themselves as agnostics or atheists, three of them still regularly participated in the life of their congregations.’
    • ‘Some of us are believers, others are agnostics or atheists.’
    • ‘Casebolt offered 20 labels, including pagan, atheist and agnostic in his Midwestern survey.’
    • ‘Although many popular spokesmen for evolutionism are self-proclaimed atheists or agnostics, this certainly does not mean that all those who accept evolution in principle are atheists or agnostics.’
    • ‘The agnostics and people who refuted the existence of God were considered equally respected as others.’
    • ‘In no nation did the proportion of the religiously affiliated who endorsed either an agnostic or atheist religious position exceed more than six percentage points.’
    • ‘And yet, they are agnostics, doubters and explorers.’
    • ‘That's true, but we have our regulation number of atheists and agnostics as well.’
    • ‘Ruttledge is an agnostic who once apparently considered the priesthood.’
    • ‘It is the cause of hundreds of millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Budhists, Parsees, agnostics and atheists as well.’
    • ‘Until I can do so I am not an atheist, but an agnostic.’
    • ‘Although not all Skeptics are agnostics, as an agnostic himself Dr Groves sees no evidence for accepting or rejecting the idea of any belief.’
    • ‘It is certainly possible for a rational agnostic to be a highly moral and responsible person.’
    • ‘These lives also bespeak mystery, and make an honest person, agnostic or believing, think - and more than that, wonder.’
    • ‘Sagan himself routinely described himself as an agnostic, and believed that the question of God's existence is inherently outside science.’
    • ‘A considerable minority even consider themselves atheists or agnostics.’
    • ‘As it is, my thinking has been influenced by Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Neo-pagans, Baha'i, agnostics and atheists.’
    sceptic, doubter, questioner, doubting thomas, challenger, scoffer, cynic
    unbeliever, disbeliever, non-believer
    View synonyms


  • 1Relating to agnostics or agnosticism.

    • ‘Among these famous quotes, however, are also many skeptical and agnostic ones.’
    • ‘We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not yet justify an estimate.’
    • ‘For a long time in my youth, I questioned, and it's not that I was convinced there is no God - I was more agnostic.’
    • ‘I'm writing, in a sense, from a kind of agnostic outsider's academic perspective rather than from an inside perspective.’
    • ‘This rudeness came from both agnostic intellectuals and religious fundamentalists.’
    • ‘It has brought greater understanding and even some agreement among people of diverse backgrounds and concerns, ranging from agnostic seekers to people of traditional faith.’
    • ‘I'm quite agnostic about synchronicity unless it seems really powerfully relevant to me.’
    • ‘I've become very agnostic politically anyway, but it's based on a sheer lack of respect for the political classes.’
    • ‘Modern attempts to ascertain profit and loss from Britain's colonial empire have reached differing and often agnostic conclusions about empire's economic value to Britain itself.’
    • ‘Most religions and agnostic philosophies agree that individuals have the right to kill in self-defense when faced with immediate mortal danger.’
    • ‘Perhaps we should leave well enough alone with that agnostic comment.’
    • ‘I'm very happy for them to go to schools where they learn about lots of different religious faiths, they also learn about agnostic positions and people who have no faith at all.’
    • ‘Milton is an agnostic science writer who, like Denton and others, was not coming at this issue from the standpoint of belief in the Bible.’
    • ‘So that wrestling is characteristic of my religious or agnostic poetry, but not necessarily everything else I do.’
    • ‘The effect of this body of thought was ‘imposing’ during Wharton's agnostic years.’
    • ‘We hear, too, what a Buddhist and an agnostic anthropologist make of it all.’
    • ‘I'm quite agnostic about this free trade agreement.’
    • ‘Are we doing it for agnostic reasons (not wanting to favor any particular advertiser), because it's better, or both?’
    • ‘Many Dutch humanists have a postmodern inclination towards ‘small humanism’, and an agnostic stance rather than an atheistic one.’
    • ‘But, for the sake of my own sanity and my place in society, I remain somewhat agnostic about it all.’
    sceptical, doubting, questioning, unsure, cynical, unbelieving, disbelieving, non-believing, faithless, irreligious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(in a non-religious context) having a doubtful or non-committal attitude towards something.
      ‘until now I've been fairly agnostic about electoral reform’
      • ‘NET, is a language agnostic runtime, currently being standardized by ECMA.’
      • ‘Individual fish display agnostic behavior to show "protective territoriality".’
      • ‘Like de Valera, I am largely agnostic on the issue.’
      • ‘That's a fairly basic issue to be agnostic about.’
      • ‘But on specific questions, like why we experience red, I'm agnostic.’
      • ‘Alone, free from the fearful burden of the faithful, I felt myself slip back into my natural agnostic relationship with the world.’
      • ‘He is said to be largely agnostic about football.’
      • ‘I knew that I was agnostic about some things.’
      • ‘An effective discovery tool must be agnostic - able to collect data across a wide range of different platforms.’
      • ‘At any rate, wikipedia is agnostic about the weight of cows.’
      • ‘One may choose to be agnostic on this issue.’
      • ‘The heads of various presidential councils are not expected to be agnostic about the issues their council deals with.’
      • ‘The manufacturers of the phone may care a little, although most seem fairly agnostic.’
      • ‘I am agnostic about the cause of the crash.’
      • ‘ISPs are content agnostic, they do not care what data they are transferring.’
      • ‘Hence, we remain agnostic regarding phylogenetic relationships among basal angiosperm lineages.’
      • ‘The law must be agnostic about the motivations of the parties to be effective.’
      • ‘This is the proposition that I hoped the government would deny, or at least remain agnostic about.’
      • ‘No political system is agnostic on the question of who owns various resources.’
      • ‘Senator Obama also is open to government support for nuclear power while Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she is agnostic on the issue.’
    2. 1.2Computing [usually in combination]Denoting or relating to hardware or software that is compatible with many types of platform or operating system.
      ‘many common file formats (JPEG, MP3, etc.) are platform-agnostic’
      ‘our industry is moving towards a device-agnostic model’
      • ‘This ability to share across the divide means that solutions can be built that are agnostic.’
      • ‘An effective discovery tool must be agnostic.’
      • ‘Because virtualized storage is agnostic with respect to vendors and technology, IT administrators are given the freedom to choose the best solution for their organization.’
      • ‘We are agnostic with regard to hardware platforms and software components.’
      • ‘These recorders are also format-agnostic.’
      • ‘The Web, a universal medium built on device-agnostic standards, sped the embrace of the "write once, run anywhere" ethic.’
      • ‘You need only beware of phishing posts, which are, of course, platform-agnostic.’
      • ‘Data must become format agnostic!’
      • ‘There are now simply so many threats to the safety of Net-users that we do need an agnostic, coordinated resource that is constantly "in the face" of the public at large.’
      • ‘These solutions are expected to offer an operating system-agnostic solution with no requirement for any host-based components.’
      • ‘Clearly it would be easy to create a solid business case to spend an extra $5,000 in order to make that site more browser-agnostic.’
      • ‘Wireless security solutions should be technology-agnostic because they may have to operate in many different environments.’
      • ‘We wanted to look at a more agnostic tool because we're not likely to use EMC hardware everywhere.’
      • ‘This eventuality makes vendor-agnostic frameworks an appealing option.’
      • ‘In these days of heterogeneous computing, the ability to be OS-agnostic is becoming increasingly more important.’
      • ‘Java was full of promise and platform-agnostic, an up-and-coming language back then.’
      • ‘You should think carefully before adding code to otherwise language- and implementation-agnostic designs.’
      • ‘Much of the material is taught in a semi-tutorial style, remaining platform - and software-agnostic, but presented in a manner that lets you follow along whilst at your computer.’
      • ‘It's platform-agnostic, which makes it really valuable.’
      • ‘This option loads one of the language-specific but format-agnostic plugins.’


Mid 19th century: from a- ‘not’+ gnostic.