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From Latin apotheōsis, from Ancient Greek ἀποθέωσις (apothéōsis), from verb ἀποθεόω (apotheóō, deify) (factitive verb formed from θεός (theós, God) with intensive prefix ἀπο- (apo-)) + -σις (-sis, forms noun of action). By surface analysis, apo- +‎ theo- +‎ -sis.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˌpɒθ.iːˈəʊ.sɪs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˌpɑː.θiˈoʊ.sɪs/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊsɪs


apotheosis (countable and uncountable, plural apotheoses)

  1. The fact or action of becoming or making into a god; deification.
    Synonyms: deification, (Mormonism) exaltation
    • 1986, SRF Price, Rituals and Power, page 75:
      In Rome itself the official position was clear: the apotheosis of the emperor took place only after his death; this had to be officially recognized by the Senate, and only then did the emperor become a divus with an official cult.
    • 2002, CE Newlands, Statius' Silvae and the Politics of Empire, page 176:
      As a former mortal who underwent apotheosis, Hercules was important to the emperors.
  2. Glorification, exaltation; crediting someone or something with extraordinary power or status.
    Synonyms: exaltation, glorification
    The turn of the century saw the apotheosis of digital technology.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter V, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      In the eyes of Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke the apotheosis of the Celebrity was complete. The people of Asquith were not only willing to attend the house-warming, but had been worked up to the pitch of eagerness. The Celebrity as a matter of course was master of ceremonies.
    • 1974, Per Lord Hailsham, Smedleys Ltd v Breed [1974]2 All ER 21(HL) at 24:
      Thereafter, the caterpillar achieved a sort of posthumous apotheosis. From local authority to the Dorchester magistrates, from the Dorchester magistrates to a Divisional Court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice of England, from the Lord Chief Justice to the House of Lords, the immolated insect has at length plodded its methodical way to the highest tribunal in the land.
  3. A glorified example or ideal; the apex or pinnacle (of a concept or belief).
    Synonyms: apex, paragon
    • 1925, William Carlos Williams, 'Edgar Allan Poe', In The American Grain, published 1990, page 232:
      In his despair he had nowhere to turn. It is the very apotheosis of the place and the time.
    • 2011 May 6, Katharine Viner, “Adam Curtis: Have computers taken away our power?”, in The Guardian[1]:
      In 2009, in the course of It Felt Like A Kiss, the sublime theatre event Curtis put on with Punchdrunk about the birth of hyper-consumerism, I was separated from the audience and sent down a long, dark corridor, which I took to represent the apotheosis of individualism.
  4. The best moment or highest point in the development of something, for example of a life or career; the apex, culmination, or climax (of a development).
    Synonyms: apex, climax, culmination, peak, pinnacle
    The apotheosis of her career was her appointment as chairman.
  5. (loosely) Release from earthly life, ascension to heaven; death.
    Synonym: death
  6. (psychology) The latent entity that mediates between a person's psyche and their thoughts. The id, ego and superego in Freudian Psychology are examples of this.

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Alternative forms[edit]


From Ancient Greek ἀποθέωσις (apothéōsis), from verb ἀποθεόω (apotheóō, deify) (factitive verb formed from θεός (theós, God) with intensive prefix ἀπο- (apo-)).



apotheōsis f (genitive apotheōsis); third declension

  1. apotheosis, deification


Third-declension noun (i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative apotheōsis apotheōsēs
Genitive apotheōsis apotheōsium
Dative apotheōsī apotheōsibus
Accusative apotheōsem apotheōsēs
Ablative apotheōse apotheōsibus
Vocative apotheōsis apotheōsēs



  • apotheosis”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • apotheosis in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • apotheosis”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898), Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • apotheosis”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin