Definitions

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

  • noun An adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity, especially when viewed in contrast to an adherent of a monotheistic religion.
  • noun A Neopagan.
  • noun One who has no religion.
  • noun An adherent of a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.
  • noun A hedonist.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who is not a Christian or a member of a Christian community; in a later narrower sense, one who does not worship the true God—that is, is not a Christian, a Jew, or a Mohammedan; a heathen. See the quotation from Trench; see also paynim.
  • noun A heathenish or ungodly person; in old slang, a prostitute.
  • noun Synonyms Heathen, etc. See gentile, n.
  • Pertaining to the worship or worshipers of any religion which is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Mohammedan; heathenish; irreligious.

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

  • adjective Of or pertaining to pagans; relating to the worship or the worshipers of false goods; heathen; idolatrous, .
  • noun One who worships false gods; an idolater; a heathen; one who is neither a Christian, a Mohammedan, nor a Jew.

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

  • adjective Relating to, characteristic of or adhering to non-Abrahamist religions, especially earlier polytheism.
  • adjective by extension Savage, immoral, uncivilized, wild.
  • noun A person not adhering to any major or recognized religion, especially a heathen or non-Abrahamist, follower of a pantheistic or nature-worshipping religion, neopagan.
  • noun by extension An uncivilized or unsocialized person
  • noun Especially an unruly, badly educated child.

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

  • noun someone motivated by desires for sensual pleasures
  • noun a person who does not acknowledge your god
  • noun a person who follows a polytheistic or pre-Christian religion (not a Christian or Muslim or Jew)
  • adjective not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Late Latin pāgānus, from Latin, country-dweller, civilian, from pāgus, country, rural district; see pag- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded in English since c1375. From Latin pāgānus ("rural, rustic"), later "civilian". The meaning "not (Judeo-)Christian" arose in Vulgar Latin, probably from the 4th century. It is unclear whether this usage is derived primarily from the "rustic" or from the "civilian" meaning, which in Roman army jargon meant 'clumsy'. As a self-designation of neopagans attested since 1990.

Examples

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