Definition of pantheon
- The emperor Marcus Agrippa had a pantheon built in Rome.
- Many eminent French citizens have been interred in a pantheon in Paris.
- He occupies a place in the pantheon of great American writers.
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the Greek and Roman pantheons
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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.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
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