Last modified on 27 September 2014, at 23:24



Alternative formsEdit

  • paynym (13th-18th centuries)


From Anglo-Norman paienime, peinime et al., and Old French paienime, from Late Latin paganismus (paganism), from Latin paganus (pagan).



paynim (plural paynims)

  1. (archaic) A pagan or heathen, especially a Muslim or Jew.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book IX, chapter xxxviij:
      But there was one knyght that dyd merueyllously thre dayes / and he bare a black shelde / and of alle knyghtes that euer I sawe he preued the best knyȝt / thenne said Kyng mark that was syre launcelot or syre palomydes the paynym
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.3:
      To this his native soyle thou backe shalt bring, / Strongly to ayde his countrey to withstand / The powre of forreine Paynims which invade thy land.
    • 1964, Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like The Sun:
      St Helen’s bell rang reminders that she lived, a paynim or Mahometan, in the church’s shadow.