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.

Examples of pantheon in a Sentence

the Greek and Roman pantheons
Recent Examples on the Web Some believe that Mäkelä is, in fact, a new god in the musical pantheon, deserving of whatever offers come his way. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 2 Apr. 2024 All told, the concert attested to Bartók’s ascension, four years after his death, to the classical pantheon. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 These routine points earlier this month surpassed the all-time college basketball scoring record, for both men and women, launching Clark into the pantheon of the sport. Alex Leeds Matthews and Ben Morse, CNN, 23 Mar. 2024 An eventual entry into the pantheon of hyperkinetic pulp creators doesn’t feel like a reach at all. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 Mar. 2024 Innes says this brought the chance to redesign the brand’s famous pantheon grille, penning one that is shorter, wider and which leans backwards for a more dynamic look. Alistair Charlton, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 In addition to interviewing the entire tech CEO pantheon, Swisher has tossed questions at figures in politics and culture—Hillary Clinton, Kim Kardashian, Maria Ressa, and so on. Steven Levy, WIRED, 15 Feb. 2024 Her track prowess has since elevated her into the pantheon of Jamaican track and field stars who have kept the country at the top of the global ranks of sprinters. Essence, 8 Feb. 2024 The last graves would not be removed until 1947, but most had already been carried off to two of the city’s haphazard pantheons: Evergreen, in Boyle Heights, founded in 1877, and Rosedale-Angelus, opened in 1884 in the then-faraway neighborhood of West Adams. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pantheon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near pantheon

Cite this Entry

“Pantheon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pantheon. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on pantheon

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!