Some definitions

Going to be updating this list most likely weekly, with either a new definition or new insight into the information herein. This can be used as a spring board to ask further and more detailed questions. These definitions are not set in stone. As language progresses and cultures progress historically, definitions like these are often changed by the members of those cultures. Focusing on etymology requires a degree that I personally do not possess so, I am not going to attempt to explain something that an expert could more eloquently and accurately. The goal with this list of definitions is to be on the same page as each other without arguing semantics. If you disagree with the definition then source material is a good place to start your argument. Your uncle’s second cousin is not source material and where I can I will respect you and do the same. I might alphabetize this at a later date to make it more coherent but, for now I will simply list and define as the words come. Also, I will denote when something is my personal opinion in order to avoid any confusion.

Pagan – pa*gan, Noun

Definition 1 of 2

1: HEATHEN especially: a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)

2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person


witches, druids, goddess worshippers, and other pagans in America today

— Alice Dowd

Pagan, adjective

Definition of pagan (Entry 2 of 2)

Of, relating to, or having the characteristics of pagans

pagan customs/beliefs

Reuse of Roman objects was not uncommon during the Middle Ages, although the discovery of ancient sculpture was usually a momentous event, and pagan images in particular provoked fearful responses.

— Peter Scott Brown

In addition to moon-rituals, wiccans celebrate pagan seasonal holidays …

— Scott McMurray

What do pagan and heathen really mean?

Pagan is derived from the Late Latin paganus, which was used at the end of the Roman Empire to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Early Christians often used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities. In Latin, paganus originally meant “country dweller” or “civilian;” it is believed that the word’s religious meanings developed either from the enduring non-Christian religious practices of those who lived far from the Roman cities where Christianity was more quickly adopted, or from the fact that early Christians referred to themselves as “soldiers of Christ,” making nonbelievers “civilians.”


The definition and etymology of heathen overlap with those of pagan: both words denote “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible,” and heathen, like pagan, is believed to have come from the term for a country inhabitant, or in this case, a “heath dweller.”


Both words have developed broader and pejorative meanings over time, with pagan being used to mean “an irreligious or hedonistic person” and heathen “uncivilized” or “strange,” but their original meanings are still in use.

-Merriam Webster Dictionary

Opinion: I personally agree with the listing that Merriam Webster provides. I will often makes jokes about not being a city dweller as to why I am called a ‘pagan’ but, also the other definition applies. Not being a member of the predominant religions of the region. Atheists fall under this category and the non-religious as well as agnostics. While as a blanket statement this can be seen as untrue to the Atheists or non-religious but, when looking at the source word paganus it definitely applies in its more modernized version. Most people think of a pagan in the same that they did 1700 – 1900 years ago when Christianity was starting to spread.

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