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[puh-ley-jee-uh n, -juh n]
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  1. a follower of Pelagius, who denied original sin and believed in freedom of the will.
  1. of or relating to Pelagius or Pelagianism.

Origin of Pelagian

1525–35; < Late Latin Pelagiānus; see -an
Related formsPe·la·gi·an·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pelagianism

Historical Examples

  • To ascribe the good lives of such persons to the power of nature would be Pelagianism.

    The Catholic World; Volume I, Issues 1-6

    E. Rameur

  • The denial of universal ideas is rationalism and materialism in philosophy, as it is Pelagianism and Arminianism in theology.

  • Personal responsibility may be made a doctrinal basis, and develope into Arminianism or Pelagianism.

  • And as if one heresy were not enough, Pelagianism was spreading with the connivance of the Bishops in the territory of Picenum.

  • Theologically, the Thomistic system approximates to pantheism, while that of Scotus inclines distinctly to Pelagianism.

British Dictionary definitions for pelagianism


  1. Christianity a heretical doctrine, first formulated by Pelagius, that rejected the concept of original sin and maintained that the individual takes the initial steps towards salvation by his own efforts and not by the help of divine grace


  1. of or inhabiting the open sea

Word Origin

C18: from Latin pelagius, from Greek pelagios of the sea, from pelagos sea


  1. of or relating to Pelagius or his doctrines
  1. an adherent of the doctrines of Pelagius
See also Pelagianism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pelagianism


1530s (n.); 1570s (adj.), from Medieval Latin Pelagianus, from Pelagius, Latinized form of the name of 4c. British monk who denied the doctrine of original sin. Combated by Augustine, condemned by Pope Zosimus in 418 C.E. His name in Welsh was said to have been Morgan, literally "sea-dweller" (cf. Greek pelagos "sea;" see pelagic). Related: Pelagianism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper