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

During that time, Jerusalem was under the control of a Persian king from the Seleucid dynasty, who pressured his subjects to universally worship the Greek pantheon. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Why Hanukkah’s message of Jewish resilience matters so much after Pittsburgh," 29 Nov. 2018 Sunset Overdrive is a big, dumb, fast shooter that knows its place in the big, dumb gaming pantheon and, quite frankly, revels in it. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sunset Overdrive review: Ride the rails to kaboom-town (finally on PCs, too)," 17 Nov. 2018 The Boston Red Sox joined the pantheon of those all-time greats Sunday night. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Boston Red Sox Win the World Series," 29 Oct. 2018 But for conservatives, Ocasio-Cortez isn’t just a rising star but something more ominous, a bogeywoman worthy to join the pantheon including Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, and Nancy Pelosi. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is driving conservatives ’round the bend.," 6 July 2018 The Midwestern couple has joined the upper pantheon of Republican donors alongside names like Koch, Mercer and Adelson. Stephanie Saul, New York Times, "The Most Powerful Conservative Couple You’ve Never Heard Of," 7 June 2018 The real estate developer had just turned 60 and had jetted west for the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, joining a pantheon of American notables, Lance Armstrong, Dan Quayle, and Ray Romano among them. Ben Schreckinger, GQ, "When Trump Met Stormy Daniels: The Strange Story of Four Wild Days in Tahoe," 22 Mar. 2018 But if this astounding piece of engineering takes to the sky, engines screaming and rocket blazing, the aerospace pantheon will welcome a new aircraft—a very big one. Michael Belfiore, Popular Mechanics, "Say Hello to Stratolaunch, the World's Largest Plane," 17 Apr. 2012 In the pantheon of iconic shoes, Adidas Stan Smiths are the unassuming ne plus ultra. Monica Kim, Vogue, "A New Photo Book Celebrates the Iconic Stan Smith—Both Man and Shoe," 31 Aug. 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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Statistics for pantheon

Last Updated

3 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on pantheon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pantheon

Spanish Central: Translation of pantheon

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

Comments on pantheon

What made you want to look up pantheon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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