athe·​ism ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce atheism (audio)
: a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods
: a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods
archaic : godlessness especially in conduct : ungodliness, wickedness

Examples of atheism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lewes used Spinoza to confirm his atheism, while Marian used him to question her faith. James Wood, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism? The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2021 Our humanism is a Euro-American ideology, and its keynotes are progress, liberal individualism, agnosticism or atheism, and trusting the science. Dominic Green, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2023 This vanishing culminates in God’s alleged death with the complicity of modern atheism and science. Anna Della Subin, The New York Review of Books, 16 Mar. 2023 Considering the importance of religion in your family, what do your family members think about your atheism? Simon Abrams, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2023 And although militant atheism remained the cornerstone of communist ideology, the Soviets had to learn to regard Islam as a positive force in national liberation movements in countries such as Indonesia and Iran. Jeremy Friedman, Foreign Affairs, 1 Nov. 2022 With the benefit of hindsight, elders in the town attribute that result to a fear of the unknown; worries that strong Roman Catholic traditions would give way to secularism or, even worse, outright atheism; and concerns that Poland would not be dealt with as an equal among European nations. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Feb. 2022 Ratzinger saw their disrespect and unruliness as part and parcel of a general societal descent into moral decay, materialism and atheism. Henry Chudeputy News Editor, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'atheism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of atheism was in 1546

Dictionary Entries Near atheism

Cite this Entry

“Atheism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


athe·​ism ˈā-thē-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce atheism (audio)
: the belief that there is no God
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