[hel-uh-niz-uh m]
  1. ancient Greek culture or ideals.
  2. the imitation or adoption of ancient Greek language, thought, customs, art, etc.: the Hellenism of Alexandrian Jews.
  3. the characteristics of Greek culture, especially after the time of Alexander the Great; civilization of the Hellenistic period.

Origin of Hellenism

First recorded in 1600–10, Hellenism is from the Greek word Hellēnismós an imitation of or similarity to the Greeks. See Hellene, -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hellenism

Historical Examples of hellenism

  • Homeric Epicism—antique Hellenism and modern Hellenism are both there.



  • There is no reconciliation between this view of life and Hellenism.

  • On one side, indeed, the Reformation was a return to Hellenism from Romanism.

  • The victory of Athanasius was in no sense a defeat for Hellenism.

  • I fear you will injure your Hellenism with this Romaic jargon.

British Dictionary definitions for hellenism


  1. the principles, ideals, and pursuits associated with classical Greek civilization
  2. the spirit or national character of the Greeks
  3. conformity to, imitation of, or devotion to the culture of ancient Greece
  4. the cosmopolitan civilization of the Hellenistic world
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 hellenism



c.1600, "idiom or expression peculiar to Greek;" see Hellenic + -ism. In sense "culture and ideals of ancient Greece," 1865.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper