(in historical contexts) one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan.
Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.
a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim; a heathen.
an irreligious or hedonistic person.
an uncivilized or unenlightened person.
(in historical contexts) of or relating to pagans.
Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.
relating to a religion, person, or culture that is not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim; heathen.
irreligious or hedonistic.
(of a person) uncivilized or unenlightened.
Pagan, although sometimes applied similarly to those tribes, was more often used to refer specifically to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who worshiped the multiple gods and goddesses said to dwell on Mount Olympus, such as Zeus and Athena (called Jupiter and Minerva by the Romans). The term was applied to their beliefs and culture as well: a pagan ritual; a pagan civilization.
Contemporary paganism, having evolved and expanded in Europe and North America since the 20th century, includes adherents of diverse groups that hold various beliefs, which may focus, for example, on the divinity of nature or of the planet Earth or which may be pantheistic or polytheistic. In modern English, heathen remains a term that can be offensive, used to accuse someone of being unenlightened or irreligious; pagan, however, is increasingly a neutral description of certain existing and emerging religious movements.
- pa·gan·ish, adjective
- pa·gan·ish·ly, adverb
- non·pa·gan, noun, adjective
- non·pa·gan·ish, adjective
- pseu·do·pa·gan, adjective
- sem·i·pa·gan, noun, adjective
- sem·i·pa·gan·ish, adjective
- un·pa·gan, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use pagan in a sentence
In a straightforward way, it shows the pagan and the Christian worlds in confrontation, the way they were in the time of the legend.The Green Knight is glorious and a little baffling. Let’s untangle it. | Alissa Wilkinson | July 30, 2021 | Vox
So she did this pagan ceremony, blessing the cameras and the sound equipment.Revisiting ‘The Visitors’: An oral history of Ragnar Kjartansson’s multimedia masterpiece | Sebastian Smee, Gabriel Florit, Joanne Lee | July 23, 2021 | Washington Post
They still have pagan holidays, a lot like Scandinavian countries.
The trouble for Ded Moroz and his granddaughter sidekick, who originate from pagan Slavic mythology, began with the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.How Soviet Russia Banished Their Version of Santa Claus, Then Brought Him Back to Spread Communist Cheer | Madeline Roache | December 24, 2020 | Time
A Druid shrine and then a pagan temple dedicated to Jupiter, the chief of the Roman gods, are believed to have stood on this spot.Watching the flames burn Notre Dame, the spiritual heart of France | Elaine Sciolino | November 6, 2020 | Washington Post
A second uniformed cop, 29-year-old Police Officer Roberto pagan, has arrived.
The demonic ‘anti-Santa’ enjoys an unlikely renaissance as we learn to embrace our inner pagan.
And likewise the Easter bunny, a bizarre pagan myth if ever one there was.
Yet most people outside that little circle still believe in witches and ghosts and goblins, and are very pagan-minded.Inside 'Sons of Anarchy's' Final Season: Creator Kurt Sutter on the Most Brutal Season Yet | Annaliza Savage | September 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
On Tuesday, it was Hector pagan, ex-husband of Mob Wives star Renee Graziano.'Mob Wives’ Courtroom Drama Exposes Rat, But Protects Jury | Michael Daly | March 12, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
I am an easiful old pagan, and I am not angry with you at all—you funny, little champion of the Most High.God and my Neighbour | Robert Blatchford
Although nearly two hundred inscriptions have been discovered, not one of either pagan or Christian character has been met with.The Catacombs of Rome | William Henry Withrow
The loftiest pagan philosophy dwindled into insignificance before the sublimity of Christian hope.The Catacombs of Rome | William Henry Withrow
A traveller ordinarily feels as safe in a highly-civilized pagan community as in a Christian city.Beacon Lights of History, Volume I | John Lord
There was one device of oath-taking, half pagan and half barbaric, which but very slowly relaxed its hold on Christian Europe.A Cursory History of Swearing | Julian Sharman
British Dictionary definitions for pagan
a member of a group professing a polytheistic religion or any religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam
a person without any religion; heathen
of or relating to pagans or their faith or worship
- pagandom, noun
- paganish, adjective
- paganism, noun
- paganist, adjective, noun
- paganistic, adjective
- paganistically, 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