• synonyms


[hee-thuh-niz-uh m]
  1. a belief or practice of heathens; idolatry.
  2. barbaric morals or behavior; barbarism.
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Origin of heathenism

First recorded in 1595–1605; heathen + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heathenism

Historical Examples of heathenism

  • "Ay, there is nothing but heathenism to be learned from plays," replied he.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2

    Henry Fielding

  • But here the result of heathenism seems to be to destroy men's consciences.

    Things as They Are

    Amy Wilson-Carmichael

  • What will happen when heathenism and the tribal system have vanished away?

  • Here it was that Olaf had a strong fortress of heathenism to take by storm.

  • This is the end of Græco-Roman heathenism, with its power, wisdom, and beauty.

Word Origin and History for heathenism


c.1600, from heathen + -ism. An Old English word for it was hæðennes, and a later one was heathenry (1560s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper