atheist

noun
athe·ist | \ ˈā-thē-ist \

Definition of atheist 

: a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods : one who subscribes to or advocates atheism

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Other words from atheist

atheistic \ˌā-thē-ˈis-tik \ or atheistical \ˌā-thē-ˈis-ti-kəl \ adjective
atheistically \-ti-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

How agnostic Differs from atheist

Many people are interested in distinguishing between the words agnostic and atheist. The difference is quite simple: atheist refers to someone who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods, and agnostic refers to someone who doesn’t know whether there is a god, or even if such a thing is knowable. This distinction can be troublesome to remember, but examining the origins of the two words can help.

Agnostic first appeared in 1869, (possibly coined by the English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley), and was formed from the Greek agnōstos (meaning "unknown, unknowable"). Atheist came to English from the French athéisme. Although both words share a prefix (which is probably the source of much of the confusion) the main body of each word is quite different. Agnostic shares part of its history with words such as prognosticate and prognosis, words which have something to do with knowledge or knowing something. Atheist shares roots with words such as theology and theism, which generally have something to do with God.

Examples of atheist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Dennington was alarmed to hear Loibl — who had been an atheist — talking about a pop singer in religious terms. Jeff Weiner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "CHRISTINA GRIMMIE: THE MURDER OF A RISING STAR," 19 June 2018 Scalfari, an atheist, is known for not using tape recorders or taking notes during interviews. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "Did Pope Francis say there is no hell? Not quite, the Vatican insists," 29 Mar. 2018 Appignani contends that atheists are one of the few minority groups in the country to still be widely ostracized by society. Isabel Fattal, The Atlantic, "How Should Atheism Be Taught?," 31 Jan. 2018 On the Mall today, there will be atheists and feminists, Republicans and Democrats. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "The March for Life Is the Real March for Women," 19 Jan. 2018 The Federalist Society is a secular organization which includes people of many religious faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Why all the anti-Catholic conspiracy-mongering?," 9 July 2018 Pew researchers compared the attitudes of respondents who described themselves as practicing Christians, non-practicing Christians and religiously unaffiliated, including atheists and agnostics. Kirsten Grieshaber, BostonGlobe.com, "Study: Christians in west Europe less tolerant of immigrants," 30 May 2018 Pew researchers compared the attitudes of respondents who described themselves as practicing Christians, non-practicing Christians and religiously unaffiliated, including atheists and agnostics. Kirsten Grieshaber, Fox News, "Study: Christians in west Europe less tolerant of immigrants," 29 May 2018 Kim Hak-song was also ordained as an evangelical Christian pastor affiliated with the Oriental Mission Church in Los Angeles, which could have presented problems in the atheist country. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "These are the three Americans released by North Korea," 9 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of atheist

1551, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for atheist

see atheism

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Dictionary Entries near atheist

athecate

Athecoidea

atheism

atheist

atheize

atheling

Athelstan

Statistics for atheist

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atheist

The first known use of atheist was in 1551

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More Definitions for atheist

atheist

noun

English Language Learners Definition of atheist

: a person who believes that God does not exist

atheist

noun
athe·ist | \ ˈā-thē-ist \

Kids Definition of atheist

: a person who believes there is no God

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More from Merriam-Webster on atheist

Spanish Central: Translation of atheist

Nglish: Translation of atheist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atheist for Arabic Speakers

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