[ yoo-hee-muh-riz-uh m, -hem-uh- ]
/ yuˈhi məˌrɪz əm, -ˈhɛm ə- /


(often initial capital letter) the theory of Euhemerus that the mythologies of various gods arose out of the deification of dead heroes.
the theory that mythology is derived from history.

Origin of euhemerism

First recorded in 1840–50; Euhemer(us) + -ism
Related formseu·he·mer·ist, nouneu·he·mer·is·tic, adjectiveeu·he·mer·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for euhemerism

British Dictionary definitions for euhemerism


/ (juːˈhiːməˌrɪzəm) /


the theory that gods arose out of the deification of historical heroes
any interpretation of myths that derives the gods from outstanding men and seeks the source of mythology in history
Derived Formseuhemerist, nouneuhemeristic, adjectiveeuhemeristically, adverb

Word Origin for euhemerism

C19: named after Euhemerus (?300 bc), Greek philosopher who propounded this theory
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 euhemerism



1846, "the method of regarding myths as glorified accounts of actual events or persons," from Euhemerus of Sicily (4c. B.C.E.), who wrote "Iera Anagraphe," in which he maintained the Greek deities actually were historical mortals. His name is literally "good day," from eu "well" (see eu-) + hemera "day" (see ephemera). Related: Euhemerist; euhemeristic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper