pagan

pagan

[pey-guhn]
noun
1.
one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks. polytheist.
2.
a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. heathen, gentile; idolator; nonbeliever.
3.
an irreligious or hedonistic person.
4.
a person deemed savage or uncivilized and morally deficient.
adjective
5.
pertaining to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim. heathen, heathenish, idolatrous, polytheistic. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, monotheistic.
6.
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of pagans.
7.
irreligious or hedonistic. unbelieving, godless, atheistic, agnostic; impious, profane, sacrilegious, unholy, ungodly. religious, pious, devout.
8.
of a person deemed backward, savage, or uncivilized or morally or spiritually stunted. primitive, uncultivated, uncultured, heathenish, barbaric, barbarous, philistine. civilized, cultivated, cultured, urbane.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English < Medieval Latin, Late Latin pāgānus ‘worshiper of false gods’, orig. ‘civilian’ (i.e., not a soldier of Christ), Latin: ‘peasant’, noun use of pāgānus ‘rural, civilian’, derivative of pāgus ‘village, rural district’ (akin to pangere ‘to fix, make fast’); see -an

paganish, adjective
paganishly, adverb
nonpagan, noun, adjective
nonpaganish, adjective
pseudopagan, adjective
semipagan, noun, adjective
semipaganish, adjective
unpagan, adjective


5. Heathen, pagan are both applied to peoples who are not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. Heathen is often distinctively applied to unenlightened or barbaric idolaters, especially to primitive or ancient tribes: heathen rites, idols. Pagan, though applied to any of the peoples not worshiping according to the three religions mentioned above, is most frequently used in speaking of the ancient Greeks and Romans: a pagan poem; a pagan civilization.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pagan (ˈpeɪɡən)
 
n
1.  a member of a group professing a polytheistic religion or any religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam
2.  a person without any religion; heathen
 
adj
3.  of or relating to pagans or their faith or worship
4.  heathen; irreligious
 
[C14: from Church Latin pāgānus civilian (hence, not a soldier of Christ), from Latin: countryman, villager, from pāgus village]
 
'pagandom
 
n
 
'paganish
 
adj
 
'paganism
 
n
 
'paganist
 
adj, —n
 
pagan'istic
 
adj
 
pagan'istically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

pagan
late 14c., from L.L. paganus "pagan," in classical L. "villager, rustic, civilian," from pagus "rural district," originally "district limited by markers," thus related to pangere "to fix, fasten," from PIE base *pag- "to fix" (see pact). Religious sense is often said to derive
from conservative rural adherence to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities; but the word in this sense predates that period in Church history, and it is more likely derived from the use of paganus in Roman military jargon for "civilian, incompetent soldier," which Christians (Tertullian, c.202; Augustine) picked up with the military imagery of the early Church (e.g. milites "soldier of Christ," etc.). Applied to modern pantheists and nature-worshippers from 1908.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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