pan·​the·​on | \ ˈpan(t)-thē-ˌän How to pronounce pantheon (audio) , -ən \
plural pantheons

Definition of pantheon

1a : the gods of a people especially : the officially recognized gods Two other deities from the vast pantheon of ancient Mesopotamia deserve special mention. These are the sinister powers of the underworld, Ereshkigal and Nergal. — John Gray Climbing the crumbling stone steps, I noticed a fat monkey sitting on the outside wall of the temple, next to a stone carving of Rangda, the witch and troublemaker in the complex Balinese pantheon of frightening demons and protective demigods. — Don Lattin
b : a temple dedicated to all the gods

Note: Generic use of this sense is rare. The capitalized form Pantheon is the common name of a domed temple in Rome that was begun in 27 b.c. by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and completely rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian circa 118-128 a.d. It was dedicated in 609 a.d. as the Church of Santa Maria Rotonda, or Santa Maria ad Martyres.

2 : a group of illustrious or notable persons or things In his mid-seventies, Robert Redford is still hanging on to the good looks and easy charm that have earned him a firm place in the pantheon of American film legends …— Stephanie Green Robert Strauss also occupies a place in the pantheon of lawyer-lobbyist money raisers …— Elizabeth Drew It was a strike of such purity and importance it immediately earned a place in the pantheon of the game's greatest 72nd hole shots …— Alan Shipnuck Of the historic, formal French Quarter restaurants—a pantheon that includes Antoine's, Galatoire's and Brennan's—Arnaud's was the first to reopen, on Dec. 1.— Mitch Frank
3 : a building serving as the burial place of or containing memorials to the famous dead of a nation

Note: Generic use of this sense is rare. The capitalized form Pantheon is used as or in the English-language names of various buildings around the world that are memorials to or resting places for the dead, perhaps most famously the Pantheon (French: Panthéon) of Paris, which was begun circa 1757 by the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot as the Church of Sainte-Geneviève.

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Some of the earliest uses of this word in the English language refer to that most famous Pantheon, the circular domed temple built in Rome more than 19 centuries ago (and still standing). We can easily identify the origins of the temple's name, which the Romans borrowed from the Greek word for a temple honoring all their gods. That Greek word, pantheion, combines pan- ("all") and theos ("god"). Later on, in English, "all the gods" was used to mean just that—a pantheon could be a collective of gods (as "the Egyptian pantheon"). We stop short of worshiping outstanding men and women as actual gods, of course, but nevertheless, in the 19th century we also began using pantheon as a word for any eminent company of the highly venerated.

Examples of pantheon in a Sentence

the Greek and Roman pantheons
Recent Examples on the Web That puts it in the pantheon of creepy doll-like creations, like Chucky or Annabelle. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 5 Oct. 2021 Miami Vice belongs in the pantheon of the not-normal. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 4 Oct. 2021 Indeed, the pantheon of American heroes has always been more diverse and inclusive than the American establishment. Adam Kirsch, WSJ, 1 Oct. 2021 Japanese curry, as it’s most often seen here, might look like the introvert among the international curry pantheon. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Sep. 2021 And much like Kanye West stepped out of the shadow of artists like Jay-Z, Cortez took his place in the pantheon of reggaetón giants taking the genre global with the release of his first album Famouz. Frances Solá-santiago,, 19 Sep. 2021 The Browns fell a few minutes short against Mahomes and the Chiefs, who are starting to look like John Elway and the Broncos in the pantheon of unsolvable nightmarish Browns opponents. Jim Ingraham, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 In the pantheon of Boston rookies to lead teams to the playoffs, my freshman four would be Russell, Heinsohn, Bird, and Lynn., 10 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile, Detroit pizza is enjoying a current moment in the pizza pantheon. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 30 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pantheon.' 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 pantheon

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for pantheon

Middle English Panteon, a temple at Rome, from Latin Pantheon, from Greek pantheion temple of all the gods, from neuter of pantheios of all gods, from pan- + theos god

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The first known use of pantheon was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pantheon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of pantheon

: the gods of a particular country or group of people
: a group of people who are famous or important
: a temple that is built to honor all the gods of a particular country or group of people

More from Merriam-Webster on pantheon

Nglish: Translation of pantheon for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about pantheon


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