poly·​the·​ism | \ ˈpä-lē-(ˌ)thē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce polytheism (audio) \

Definition of polytheism

: belief in or worship of more than one god

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from polytheism

polytheist \ ˈpä-​lē-​ˌthē-​ist How to pronounce polytheism (audio) \ adjective or noun

Examples of polytheism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like the gods of ancient polytheism, modern values are always in conflict. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, "Max Weber’s Agon," 11 June 2020 Since then, Cannonier has connected with his ancestral roots in African spirituality based on laws of the universe as opposed to traditional monotheism or polytheism. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, "Glendale's Jared Cannonier explains how physical, spiritual evolution can win him middleweight title at UFC 254," 21 Oct. 2020 That's something that happens across all of Europe, across all of the world where monotheism displaces polytheism. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue," 21 Sep. 2020 The result was the synthesis of polytheism with Catholicism, and the creation of Santeria and Espiritismo. Sarah Betancourt, Longreads, "The Religion No One Talks About: My Search For Answers in an Old Caribbean Faith," 30 Mar. 2018 Both books trace the gradual emergence of monotheism from a background of polytheism. David Wolpe, New York Times, "Two Authors Examine Biblical History for Clues About Faith," 22 Dec. 2017 Judaism, Christianity and polytheism—and rife with religious conflict. Christopher Carroll, WSJ, "The Crescent Rising," 4 Oct. 2017 Islamic State has even demolished some mosques, saying they were used to venerate saints, which Islamic State considers a form of polytheism. Susannah George, Orange County Register, "Rubble and ash in Mosul museum retaken from Islamic State," 8 Mar. 2017 For example: asceticism (11) and hedonism (90); lack of religiousness (118), Christianity (32), and polytheism (157); militarism (135) and loss of army discipline (125). Samuel Arbesman, WIRED, "210 Reasons for the Fall of the Roman Empire," 26 June 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polytheism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of polytheism

1613, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polytheism

French polytheisme, from Late Greek polytheos polytheistic, from Greek, of many gods, from poly- + theos god

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polytheism

Time Traveler for polytheism

Time Traveler

The first known use of polytheism was in 1613

See more words from the same year

Statistics for polytheism

Cite this Entry

“Polytheism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polytheism. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for polytheism



English Language Learners Definition of polytheism

: the belief that there is more than one god

More from Merriam-Webster on polytheism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polytheism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polytheism

Comments on polytheism

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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