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Pa"gan (?), n. [L. paganus a countryman, peasant, villager, a pagan, fr. paganus of or pertaining to the country, rustic, also, pagan, fr. pagus a district, canton, the country, perh. orig., a district with fixed boundaries: cf. pangere to fasten. Cf. Painim, Peasant, and Pact, also Heathen.]

One who worships false goods; an idolater; a heathen; one who is neither a Christian, a Mohammedan, nor a Jew.

Neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man. Shak.

Syn. -- Gentile; heathen; idolater. -- Pagan, Gentile, Heathen. Gentile was applied to the other nations of the earth as distinguished from the Jews. Pagan was the name given to idolaters in the early Christian church, because the villagers, being most remote from the centers of instruction, remained for a long time unconverted. Heathen has the same origin. Pagan is now more properly applied to rude and uncivilized idolaters, while heathen embraces all who practice idolatry.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pa"gan, a. [L. paganus of or pertaining to the country, pagan. See Pagan, n.]

Of or pertaining to pagans; relating to the worship or the worshipers of false goods; heathen; idolatrous, as, pagan tribes or superstitions.

And all the rites of pagan honor paid. Dryden.

 

© Webster 1913.