heno·​the·​ism | \ ˈhe-nə-(ˌ)thē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce henotheism (audio) \

Definition of henotheism

: the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods

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Other Words from henotheism

henotheist \ ˈhe-​nə-​ˌthē-​ist How to pronounce henotheism (audio) \ noun
henotheistic \ ˌhe-​nə-​thē-​ˈi-​stik How to pronounce henotheism (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Henotheism comes to us from the German word Henotheismus, which in turn is derived from Greek hen- ("one") and "theos" ("god"). Someone who engages in henotheism worships one god but does not deny that there are others. Max Müller, a respected 19th-century scholar, is credited with promoting the word henotheism as a counterpart to "polytheism" ("belief in or worship of more than one god") and "monotheism" ("the doctrine or belief that there is but one God"). Müller also used the related word kathenotheism, from Greek kath' hena ("one at a time"), for the worship of several gods successively.

Examples of henotheism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And while there were plenty of henotheist pagans (that is, people who worshiped one god while not denying the validity of others), Christianity went far beyond henotheism’s hesitant claim upon ultimate truth. Tom Bissell, New York Times, "Why Did Christianity Prevail?," 13 Feb. 2018

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

First Known Use of henotheism

1860, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for henotheism

German Henotheismus, from Greek hen-, heis one + theos god — more at same

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The first known use of henotheism was in 1860

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Cite this Entry

“Henotheism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/henotheism. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on henotheism

Britannica English: Translation of henotheism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about henotheism

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