atheist

noun athe·ist \ ˈā-thē-ist \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

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

atheistic

play \ˌā-thē-ˈis-tik\ or atheistical play \ˌā-thē-ˈis-ti-kəl\ adjective

atheistically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Recent Examples of atheist from the Web

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.

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 believes that there is no god (or 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.

Origin and Etymology of atheist

Other Christian Religious Terms


ATHEIST Defined for English Language Learners

atheist

noun

Definition of atheist for English Language Learners

  • : a person who believes that God does not exist


ATHEIST Defined for Kids

atheist

noun athe·ist \ ˈā-thē-ist \

Definition of atheist for Students

:a person who believes there is no God

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