[ hee-thuh n ]
/ ˈhi ðən /
Disparaging and Offensive.

noun, plural hea·thens, hea·then.

(in historical contexts) an individual of a people that do not acknowledge the God of the Bible; a person who is neither a Jew, Christian, nor Muslim; a pagan.
Informal. an irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized person.


of or relating to heathens; pagan.
Informal. irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized.

Origin of heathen

before 900; Middle English hethen, Old English hǣthen, akin to German Heide, heidnisch (adj.), Old Norse heithingi (noun), heithinn (adj.), Gothic haithno (noun); perhaps akin to heath


synonym study for heathen

See pagan.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for heathendom

British Dictionary definitions for heathendom (1 of 2)

/ (ˈhiːðəndəm) /


heathen lands, peoples, or beliefs

British Dictionary definitions for heathendom (2 of 2)

/ (ˈhiːðən) /

noun plural -thens or -then

a person who does not acknowledge the God of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam; pagan
an uncivilized or barbaric person
the heathen (functioning as plural) heathens collectively


irreligious; pagan
unenlightened; uncivilized; barbaric
of or relating to heathen peoples or their religious, moral, and other customs, practices, and beliefs

Derived forms of heathen

heathenism or heathenry, nounheathenness, noun

Word Origin for heathen

Old English hǣthen; related to Old Norse heithinn, Old Frisian hēthin, Old High German heidan
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