pantheon

noun

pan·​the·​on ˈpan(t)-thē-ˌän How to pronounce pantheon (audio)
-ən
plural pantheons
1
a
: 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.

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

the Greek and Roman pantheons
Recent Examples on the Web The podcast industry, which is still settling into its sweet spot in the pantheon of capital-E Entertainment, appears poised to follow suit both as a reaction to the economic downturn and as a reflection of audio’s past years of massive growth. J. Clara Chan, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Jan. 2023 Where fresh bergamot meets with a dangerous hint of pepper, this Dior cologne has rightfully assumed a spot in the pantheon of men's fragrance for its sharp and sophisticated masculinity. Nikolas Greenwald, Good Housekeeping, 6 Jan. 2023 Their place in the pantheon was established; my heart was full. Mark Shanahan, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Jan. 2023 Dirk Nowitzki’s place in the pantheon of Dallas-Fort Worth athletes, and in the hearts and minds of fans, could not be more secure. Dallas News, 22 Dec. 2022 Will M3GAN join the pantheon of killer dolls, like Chucky and Brahms? Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 30 Dec. 2022 The contributors comprise a pantheon, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Stanley Crouch, Calvin Trillin, Elizabeth Alexander, Hilton Als, Zadie Smith, and more. The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2021 The late rapper, along with Whitney Houston, was nominated for the first time for music's pantheon, which also welcomed Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T. Rex in the same Rock Hall class. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2021 Numerous deities populated the Maya pantheon, including gods for physical elements like rain and demigod-like heroes who fought for the good of humanity. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 29 Dec. 2020 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near pantheon

Cite this Entry

“Pantheon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pantheon. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

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