Definition of paganism
1a : pagan beliefs or practicesb : a pagan religion
2 : the quality or state of being a pagan
Examples of paganism in a Sentence
the paganism of early Rome
He is a practitioner of Paganism.
Recent Examples of paganism from the Web
A few lines from Lucretius, penned at the apogee of paganism, are equally applicable in the age of the plasma screen:
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paganism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What Do pagan and heathen Really Mean?
Pagan is derived from the Late Latin paganus, which was used at the end of the Roman Empire to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Early Christians often used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities. In Latin, paganus originally meant “country dweller” or “civilian;” it is believed that the word’s religious meanings developed either from the enduring non-Christian religious practices of those who lived far from the Roman cities where Christianity was more quickly adopted, or from the fact that early Christians referred to themselves as “soldiers of Christ,” making nonbelievers “civilians.”
The definition and etymology of heathen overlap with those of pagan: both words denote “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible,” and heathen, like pagan, is believed to have come from the term for a country inhabitant, or in this case, a "heath dweller."
Both words have developed broader and pejorative meanings over time, with pagan being used to mean “an irreligious or hedonistic person” and heathen “uncivilized” or “strange,” but their original meanings are still in use.
First Known Use of paganism
PAGANISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of paganism for English Language Learners
: the state of being pagan
: a religion that has many gods or goddesses, considers the earth holy, and does not have a central authority
Seen and Heard
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