Last modified on 12 September 2014, at 10:24



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, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol.I, Book IX:
      ‘That was,’ seyde Kynge Marke, ‘Sir Launcelot, other ellis Sir 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.