Definitions

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

  • n. Offensive One who adheres to the religion of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.
  • n. Offensive Such persons considered as a group; the unconverted.
  • n. An adherent of a Neopagan religion that seeks to revive the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Germanic peoples.
  • n. Informal One who is regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, or unenlightened.
  • n. Informal Such persons considered as a group.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. not adhering to an Abrahamic religion; pagan.
  • adj. uncultured; uncivilized; savage, philistine.
  • adj. Alternative capitalization of Heathen (pertaining or adhering to the Germanic neo-pagan faith Heathenry).
  • n. A person who does not follow an Abrahamic religion; a pagan.
  • n. An uncultured or uncivilized person, philistine.
  • n. Alternative capitalization of Heathen (an adherent of the Germanic neo-pagan faith of Heathenry).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Gentile; pagan.
  • adj. Barbarous; unenlightened; heathenish.
  • adj. Irreligious; scoffing.
  • n. An individual of the pagan or unbelieving nations, or those which worship idols and do not acknowledge the true God; a pagan; an idolater.
  • n. An irreligious person.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • One of a race, nation, or people that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible, or such races, nations, or peoples collectively, especially when uncivilized or uncultured; one who is not a Jew, Christian, or Mohammedan; a pagan.
  • In Scripture, with the definite article, the gentiles; those nations or peoples that did not acknowledge Jehovah, the God of the Jews, as the true God; hence, idolaters, from the prevalence of idolatry among them.
  • Any irreligious, rude, barbarous, or unthinking person or class: as, the heathen at home.
  • Pagan; gentile: as, heathen superstitions or customs.
  • Synonyms See gentile, n.

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

  • n. a person who does not acknowledge your god
  • adj. not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam

Etymologies

Middle English hethen, from Old English hǣthen; see kaito- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Germanic: from Old English hǣþen, akin to heath on the moor, the poor, 'wild' countryside; cognate with Dutch heiden, German Heide. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • definitely one of my very favorite words.

    December 2, 2006