Hea·then n.; pl. Heathens or collectively Heathen.
1. An individual of the pagan or unbelieving nations, or those which worship idols and do not acknowledge the true God; a pagan; an idolater.
2. An irreligious person.
If it is no more than a moral discourse, he may preach it and they may hear it, and yet both continue unconverted heathens. --V. Knox.
The heathen, as the term is used in the Scriptures, all people except the Jews; now used of all people except Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. --Ps. ii. 8.
Syn: -- Pagan; gentile. See Pagan.
1. Gentile; pagan; as, a heathen author. “The heathen philosopher.” “All in gold, like heathen gods.”
2. Barbarous; unenlightened; heathenish.
3. Irreligious; scoffing.
adj : not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and
Islam [syn: heathenish, pagan, ethnic]
n : a person who does not acknowledge your God [syn: pagan, gentile,
(Heb. plural goyum). At first the word _goyim_ denoted generally
all the nations of the world (Gen. 18:18; comp. Gal. 3:8). The
Jews afterwards became a people distinguished in a marked manner
from the other _goyim_. They were a separate people (Lev. 20:23;
26:14-45; Deut. 28), and the other nations, the Amorites,
Hittites, etc., were the _goyim_, the heathen, with whom the
Jews were forbidden to be associated in any way (Josh. 23:7; 1
Kings 11:2). The practice of idolatry was the characteristic of
these nations, and hence the word came to designate idolaters
(Ps. 106:47; Jer. 46:28; Lam. 1:3; Isa. 36:18), the wicked (Ps.
9:5, 15, 17).
The corresponding Greek word in the New Testament, _ethne_,
has similar shades of meaning. In Acts 22:21, Gal. 3:14, it
denotes the people of the earth generally; and in Matt. 6:7, an
idolater. In modern usage the word denotes all nations that are
strangers to revealed religion.