atheism

noun
athe·ism | \ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm \

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

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 Sweeney has done other terrific solo work in Chicago before, dealing with her trajectory toward atheism and the trajectory of cancer toward her own body. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Julia Sweeney at Second City: 'Older and Wider' maybe, funnier and wiser for sure," 3 May 2018 Early critics of anesthesia worried that, by taking away the Biblical curse of pain in childbirth, ether would lead to atheism. Ellen Wayland-smith, Longreads, "Death Rattle: The Body’s Betrayals," 21 Mar. 2018 The charges once lobbed against Christians — atheism, superstition — were turned against pagan people. Tom Bissell, New York Times, "Why Did Christianity Prevail?," 13 Feb. 2018 Which is to say, homosexuality grew up, the same way atheism grew up, the same way a great many subcultures grow up. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Devil May Care," 10 Jan. 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

Athecata

athecate

Athecoidea

atheism

atheist

atheize

atheling

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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