athe·​ism | \ ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce atheism (audio) \

Definition of atheism

1a : a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods
b : a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods
2 archaic : godlessness especially in conduct : ungodliness, wickedness

Examples of atheism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Most forms of organized atheism are attempts to fashion God surrogates. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why science can’t replace religion," 4 Nov. 2018 In later life Franklin also cloaked his militant teenage atheism in the vague mantle of Deism, which was more publicly palatable. Sam Kean, WSJ, "‘Young Benjamin Franklin’ Review: Poor Richard Sows His Oats," 17 Sep. 2018 This is followed by the atheism that makes a religion out of science. Tim Crane, WSJ, "‘Seven Types of Atheism’ Review: Better Off Without Him?," 17 Dec. 2018 But these works are neither more nor less committed to trinitarian Christianity than Blake’s are to his eccentric spiritualism or Shelley’s to his atheism. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "‘The Hymnal’ Review: How to Make a Joyful Noise," 23 Dec. 2018 The scientist's position on the existence of God, until then, were seen as somewhat blurred between agnosticism and atheism. Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek, "Did Stephen Hawking Believe in God? What Physicist Said About the Creation of the Universe," 14 Mar. 2018 Will Gervais, a University of Kentucky psychologist who studies perception of religious belief and atheism, points out some limitations of this work. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What the “face of God” looks like, according to 500 Christians in a psych study," 15 June 2018 That number is close to 15 percent in the U.K. And with apologies to that high priest of atheism, Bill Maher, American voters have no interest in nonbelievers. Matthew Cooper, Newsweek, "How the Presidential Candidates Found Their Faith," 2 Apr. 2015 His atheism makes hope so much harder and the wheel of history so much less forgiving. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Kanye West and the Question of Freedom," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atheism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of atheism

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for atheism

Middle French athéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos god

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about atheism

Dictionary Entries near atheism








Statistics for atheism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atheism

The first known use of atheism was in 1546

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on atheism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with atheism

Spanish Central: Translation of atheism

Nglish: Translation of atheism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atheism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about atheism

Comments on atheism

What made you want to look up atheism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!