noun \ˈpā-gən\

Definition of PAGAN

:  heathen 1; especially :  a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)
:  one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods :  an irreligious or hedonistic person
:  neo-pagan
pagan adjective
pa·gan·ish \-gə-nish\ adjective

Examples of PAGAN

  1. <the Spanish conquistadores regarded the native peoples of the lands that they conquered as pagans who were uncivilized and inherently inferior>

Origin of PAGAN

Middle English, from Late Latin paganus, from Latin, civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district; akin to Latin pangere to fix — more at pact
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms

Zen, antinomian, avatar, gnosticism, illuminati, ineffable, karma, koan, mantra

Rhymes with PAGAN


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Traditional designation of a practitioner of classical polytheisms. The early Christians often used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities. Christian missionaries frequently sought to stamp out pagan practices by building churches on the sites of pagan shrines or by associating Christian holidays with pagan rituals (e.g., linking Christmas with the celebration of the winter solstice). The term pagan was also used to refer to non-Christian philosophers, and in the 20th century it was used to identify members of certain new religious movements. See Neo-paganism.


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