from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Exaltation to divine rank or stature; deification.
  • noun Elevation to a preeminent or transcendent position; glorification.
  • noun An exalted or glorified example.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Deification; consecration; specifically, under the Roman empire, the formal attribution of divine honors to a deceased emperor or other member of the imperial family.
  • noun . Figuratively, excessive honor paid to any great or distinguished person; the ascription of extraordinary virtues or superhuman qualities to a human being.
  • noun The personification and undue exaltation of a virtue, a sentiment, or an idea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun plural The act of elevating a mortal to the rank of, and placing him among, “the gods;” deification.
  • noun plural Glorification; exaltation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The fact or action of becoming or making into a god; deification.
  • noun Glorification, exaltation; crediting someone with extraordinary power or status.
  • noun A glorified example or ideal; the apex or pinnacle (of a concept or belief).
  • noun The best moment or highest point in the development of something, for example of a life or career; the apex, culmination, or climax (of a development).
  • noun Loosely, release from earthly life, ascension to heaven; death.
  • noun psychology The latent entity that mediates between a person's psyche and their thoughts. The id, ego and superego in Freudian Psychology are examples of this.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal
  • noun the elevation of a person (as to the status of a god)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin apotheōsis, from Greek, from apotheoun, to deify : apo-, change; see apo– + theos, god; see dhēs- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἀποθέωσις, from verb ἀποθεόω ("deify") (factitive verb formed from θεός ("God") with intensive prefix ἀπο-).


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  • There is a Babylon 5 episode "Falling towards Apotheosis", which is where I first heard this word.

    February 1, 2007

  • i most associate apotheosis with the painting in the US Capitol Building: The Apotheosis of George Washington. when i first saw it i was like 'what the heck?!' i like George and all, but he never became a god in *my* world ;-)

    March 26, 2007

  • If you read Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, where the character enters Rome's St. Peter's Basilica, you will encounter an example of apotheosis. The movement is not that obvious, but it is there. It gets played out in an episode of combat and opposition. I found that troubling when I first read the work. Byron, and his Schilleresque sense of the sublime, kind of struck me like the guy was a jerk. A self-aggrandizing jerk.

    April 23, 2007

  • The first time ever I read this word was in the blurb for a classical LP; specifically for Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, in which one of the movements (I assume the 3rd) was described as "the apotheosis of the dance". It must refer to the second meaning: "model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal".

    Another poth-y word.

    December 13, 2008

  • A favorite word of the New York Times

    January 17, 2009

  • Ooh! Ooh! I've verbed this word in my blog and need the past simple tense. I'm going with 'apotheosized' as in: 'It is mandatory if we are to coexist with these apotheosized creations of ours.' (referring to Strong AIs)

    April 23, 2010

  • One of Faulkner's favourites.

    November 13, 2011

  • As difficult as it is to imagine, the apotheosis of Mark Zuckerberg’s career, many believe, is yet to come.

    October 29, 2017