- An example of a heathen is a person who is uncivilized and not religious.
- An example of a heathen is a person who lies, cheats and does other immoral things.
nounpl. -·thens or -·then
- in the Old Testament, a member of any nation or people not worshiping the God of Israel
- anyone not a Jew, Christian, or Muslim; esp., a member of a tribe, nation, etc. worshiping many gods: now chiefly a dismissive or disparaging term
- a person regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, unenlightened, etc.
Origin of heathenMiddle English hethen from Old English hæthen from hæth, heath; like Gothic haithn?, gentile (woman) from haithi, heath (hence literally , “heath dweller”) a loan translated, translation used by Ulfilas for Ecclesiastical Late Latin paganus (see pagan), taken in its Classical Latin sense, “a countryman, rustic” from pagus, the country
- of or characteristic of heathens; pagan
- irreligious, uncivilized, etc.
nounpl. hea·thens, or heathen
- Offensive a. An adherent of a religion that does not worship the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.b. Such persons considered as a group.
- Heathen An adherent of a Neopagan religion that seeks to revive the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Germanic peoples.
- Informal a. One who is regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, or unenlightened.b. Such persons considered as a group.
Origin of heathenMiddle English hethen from Old English hǣthen ; see kaito- in Indo-European roots.
- hea′then·dom hea′then·ism hea′then·ry
(plural heathen or heathens)
Germanic: from Old English hǣþen, akin to heath on the moor, the poor, 'wild' countryside; cognate with Dutch heiden, German Heide.