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

  • noun An adherent of a religion that does not worship the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.
  • noun Such persons considered as a group.
  • noun An adherent of a Neopagan religion that seeks to revive the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Germanic peoples.
  • noun One who is regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, or unenlightened.
  • noun Such persons considered as a group.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

  • adjective Gentile; pagan.
  • adjective Barbarous; unenlightened; heathenish.
  • adjective Irreligious; scoffing.
  • noun An individual of the pagan or unbelieving nations, or those which worship idols and do not acknowledge the true God; a pagan; an idolater.
  • noun An irreligious person.
  • noun as the term is used in the Scriptures, all people except the Jews; now used of all people except Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans.

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

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

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

  • noun a person who does not acknowledge your god
  • adjective not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam


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

[Middle English hethen, from Old English hǣthen; see kaito- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Germanic: from Old English hǣþen, akin to heath on the moor, the poor, 'wild' countryside; cognate with Dutch heiden, German Heide.


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  • definitely one of my very favorite words.

    December 2, 2006