heath·en / ˈhē[voicedth]ən/ • n. chiefly derog. a person who does not belong to a widely held religion (esp. one who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim) as regarded by those who do: bringing Christianity to the heathens. ∎ a follower of a polytheistic religion; a pagan. ∎ (the heathen) heathen people collectively, esp. (in biblical use) those who did not worship the God of Israel. ∎ inf. an unenlightened person; a person regarded as lacking culture or moral principles.• adj. of or relating to heathens: heathen gods. ∎ inf. unenlightened or uncivilized: they dismiss the idea of a sauce of simply melted butter as somewhat heathen.DERIVATIVES: heath·en·dom / -dəm/ n.heath·en·ish adj.heath·en·ism / -ˌnizəm/ n.
Hence heathendom OE. hǣðendōm. heathenish OE. hǣōenisċ.