16th century Middle French athéisme, from athée ("atheist"), a loan from Old Greek ?, from ἀ- ("without") + θεός ("deity, god").

First English attestation dates to 1587 (OED).

  • IPA: /ˈeɪθiɪzəm/

atheism (uncountable)

  1. (narrowly) Belief that no deities exist (sometimes including rejection of other religious beliefs).
  2. (broadly) Rejection of belief that any deities exist (with or without a belief that no deities exist).
  3. (very broadly) Absence of belief that any deities exist (including absence of the concept of deities).
  4. (historical) Absence of belief in a particular deity, pantheon, or religious doctrine (notwithstanding belief in other deities).
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