pan·the·on | \ˈpan(t)-thē-ˌän, -ən\

Definition of pantheon 

1 : a temple dedicated to all the gods The emperor Marcus Agrippa had a pantheon built in Rome.

2 : a building serving as the burial place of or containing memorials to the famous dead of a nation Many eminent French citizens have been interred in a pantheon in Paris.

3 : the gods of a people especially : the officially recognized gods

4 : a group of illustrious or notable persons or things He occupies a place in the pantheon of great American writers.

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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.

Examples of pantheon in a Sentence

the Greek and Roman pantheons

Recent Examples on the Web

The 900-year-old abbey is the resting place of a pantheon of British historical figures, including kings and queens, political leaders and writers like Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens. NBC News, "Stephen Hawking's ashes buried in Westminster Abbey," 15 June 2018 Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill A pantheon of prominent Americans Rev. Billy Graham will be the 34th American to lie in the Capitol rotunda. Jim Morrill, charlotteobserver, "Only 33 Americans have been honored in the US Capitol after death. Here’s the list. | Charlotte Observer," 26 Feb. 2018 This is, alas, the Yahweh of the early Hebrews, a fickle, petulant, seemingly amoral deity whose childish obsession is with proving himself top banana in the pantheon of primitive gods. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Depraved and Beautiful Dream of the World," 12 July 2018 Pogba has become an international star at Manchester United, and Kante’s name has been lifted into the pantheon through his performamces at Leicester City (the historic Premier League title two years ago) and Chelsea. Bruce Jenkins,, "World Cup: France proves masterful in all phases," 10 July 2018 And not having World Cup feats to match is why Messi will now forever be just below them in the pantheon of football. Jon Leicester,, "The World Cup delivers unforgiving verdict for Lionel Messi," 30 June 2018 Even Tim Duncan, who will go into the pantheon of the game as a one-team player, was never the Spurs. Rob Mahoney,, "The Divide Between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs," 16 Apr. 2018 And Patrick Reed’s estrangement from his family, not his overhyped entry into the pantheon of mythic Masters winners, is the real story. Kevin Cullen,, "The troubled truth behind the Masters’ champ is far more revealing than the packaged pageantry," 9 Apr. 2018 The Patriots’ 34-28 overtime victory catapulted Edelman’s reception into the pantheon of clutch plays. Ben Shpigel, The Seattle Times, "A hero, until he wasn’t: Jermaine Kearse relives his spectacular Super Bowl catch that faded into history," 3 Feb. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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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Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for pantheon

The first known use of pantheon was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pantheon



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

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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