[ ey-thee-ist ]
/ ˈeɪ θi ɪst /
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a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
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Origin of atheist

First recorded in 1565–75; from Greek áthe(os) “godless” + -ist

synonym study for atheist


an·ti·a·the·ist, noun, adjectivepro·a·the·ist, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does atheist mean?

An atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of a supreme being or deity. In other words, an atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of God or of any gods.

The belief or doctrine that denies the existence of gods or supreme beings is atheism. Atheist can also be used as an adjective to describe such beliefs or things involving such beliefs. The adjective atheistic can be used in the same way.

The word atheist means something different from the word agnostic, which refers to a person who believes it is impossible to know whether or not a supreme being exists. When asked if God or gods exist, an atheist would answer “No,” while an agnostic would answer “It is impossible to know.”

Example: Being an atheist doesn’t mean I think God is bad—it means that I think God doesn’t exist.

Where does atheist come from?

The first records of the word atheist come from around 1570. It comes from the Greek áthe(os), meaning “godless.” In atheist, the beginning part a- means “without” and the main root is based on a word meaning “god” (the words theology and theist are based on the same root). The noun suffix -ist indicates a person who holds certain beliefs.

Historically, being known as an atheist has been dangerous—many atheists have even been tortured or killed, such as in societies that require adherence to a specific religion. Even today, many atheists face discrimination. Many support policies that ensure that religious freedom applies even to those who do not follow any faith.

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What are some words that often get used in discussing atheist?

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How is atheist used in real life?

The word atheist is the most common way of referring to a person who doesn’t believe in the existence of a god or gods. Many people use the word to identify themselves in this way.

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True or False?

The word atheist refers to a person who has a fear or distrust of religious people.

How to use atheist in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for atheist

/ (ˈeɪθɪˌɪst) /

a person who does not believe in God or gods
of or relating to atheists or atheism

Derived forms of atheist

atheistic or atheistical, adjectiveatheistically, adverb
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