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 inmates, who argued that the event carried religious significance in Christianity, Islam, Santería and atheism, will be allowed to watch the eclipse outdoors in the prison yard with safety glasses provided by the corrections department, said Madeline Byrd, another attorney for the inmates. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 In reality, many people think of agnosticism as a less stringent form of atheism. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 10 Mar. 2024 While atheism and agnosticism are among the most common, there are some differences between those terms. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 10 Mar. 2024 In his autobiography Witness, Whittaker Chambers recounted that staring at his infant daughter’s ear while feeding her one morning provoked a crisis, ending his atheism. Heather Wilhelm, National Review, 22 Feb. 2024 These secular congregations often appeal to atheists and other secular people, but their main purpose is not promoting atheism. CBS News, 11 Jan. 2024 Satanism is no religion, but militant atheism is an ideology. Matthew Malec, National Review, 27 Dec. 2023 But most do not see atheism as an identity to seek community around. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 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

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 20 Apr. 2024.

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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