See also: Heathen



From Middle English hethen, from Old English hǣþen, from Proto-Germanic *haiþinaz; akin to heath (heathland). Cognate with Dutch heiden, German Heide, Danish hedning, Norwegian Nynorsk heidning, Icelandic heiðingi. See also Proto-Germanic *haiduz, Old Norse heiðr (honour, bright, moor), Icelandic heiður (honour).


  • IPA(key): /ˈhiːðən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːðən


heathen (not comparable)

  1. Not adhering to Christian religion; pagan.
  2. (by extension) Uncultured; uncivilized; savage, philistine.
  3. Alternative letter-case form of Heathen (pertaining or adhering to the Germanic neo-pagan faith Heathenry).



heathen (plural heathens or heathen)

  1. A person who does not follow a Christian religion; a pagan.
    • V. Knox
      If it is no more than a moral discourse, he may preach it and they may hear it, and yet both continue unconverted heathens.
    • 1930, H. E. Bolton, Anza's California expeditions (volume 1, page 403)
      On hearing his cries two heathen who were hunting on the lagoon ran up, and they were bold enough to try to avenge the injury, making ready to shoot arrows at the soldiers, who fired two gunshots just to frighten them []
  2. (by extension) An uncultured or uncivilized person, philistine.
  3. Alternative letter-case form of Heathen (an adherent of the Germanic neo-pagan faith of Heathenry).

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.