Doubting Thomas, a

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Meaning of Idiom 'A Doubting Thomas'

A doubting Thomas is a person who almost always doubtful and refuses to believe anything without strong proof or evidence; a skeptic. 1,2,3


Calling someone a doubting Thomas is always negative. The idiom can be used to refer to a man or a woman.

"Don't listen to Walter about the new deal," said Christina. "He's always a doubting Thomas."

"Growing tired of Walter's pessimism, Christina said to him, 'Don't you get tired of being a doubting Thomas all the time?'"


The idiom refers to Jesus' disciple, Thomas, who refused to believe that Jesus had been resurrected until he saw Jesus for himself and the print of the nails in Jesus' hands, as described in John 20:24-29:

24: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25: The other disciples, therefore, said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26: And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27: Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28: And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

1. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill's American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
3. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.

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