athe·​ism ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce atheism (audio)
: a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods
: a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods
archaic : godlessness especially in conduct : ungodliness, wickedness

Examples of atheism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The communists, who espoused atheism and derided religions, sought to yoke Tibet to China by squashing its local culture and historical institutions; destroying Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, nunneries, and cultural artifacts; and suppressing the practice of the Tibetan Buddhist faith. Lobsang Sangay, Foreign Affairs, 6 Nov. 2023 Classical communism/Marxism-Leninism was explicitly state atheist (the exact opposite of theocracy with atheism violently enforced by the state). Karla Adam, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2023 Elizabeth and Calvin’s empirically minded atheism is often challenged by Christian characters—some generous true believers and others cruel charlatans. TIME, 13 Oct. 2023 Lewes used Spinoza to confirm his atheism, while Marian used him to question her faith. James Wood, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism? The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2021 Our humanism is a Euro-American ideology, and its keynotes are progress, liberal individualism, agnosticism or atheism, and trusting the science. Dominic Green, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2023 This vanishing culminates in God’s alleged death with the complicity of modern atheism and science. Anna Della Subin, The New York Review of Books, 16 Mar. 2023 Considering the importance of religion in your family, what do your family members think about your atheism? Simon Abrams, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle French athéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos god

First Known Use

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of atheism was in 1546

Dictionary Entries Near atheism

Cite this Entry

“Atheism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


athe·​ism ˈā-thē-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce atheism (audio)
: the belief that there is no God
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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