[ pol-ee-thee-iz-uh m, pol-ee-thee-iz-uh m ]
/ ˈpɒl i θiˌɪz əm, ˌpɒl iˈθi ɪz əm /


the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.


Origin of polytheism

1605–15; poly- + theism; compare French polythéisme
Related formspol·y·the·ist, nounpol·y·the·is·tic, pol·y·the·is·ti·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polytheism

British Dictionary definitions for polytheism


/ (ˈpɒlɪθiːˌɪzəm, ˌpɒlɪˈθiːɪzəm) /


the worship of or belief in more than one god
Derived Formspolytheist, nounpolytheistic, adjectivepolytheistically, 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

Word Origin and History for polytheism



1610s, from French polythéisme (16c.), formed from Greek polytheia "polytheism," polytheos "of many gods," from polys "many" (see poly-) + theos "god" (see Thea).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for polytheism


The belief in more than one god. The ancient Greeks, for example, were polytheists; their gods included Apollo, Athena, Dionysus, and Zeus. (Compare monotheism.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.