From Middle English hæthendom, from Old English hǣþendōm, from Proto-Germanic *haiþinadōmaz; equivalent to heathen + -dom. OED records a single attestation in the period between 1230 and 1840, a (nonce?) occurrence in J. Law, Proposals and reasons for constituting a council of trade in Scotland (1701, p. 233). Otherwise replaced by heathenism in the 17th and 18th centuries.
- The state of being heathen.
- The priest argued to the king that unless clerics accompanied the colony ship, the colony would soon descend into heathendom and barbarity.
- From one religion's or creed's perspective, the rest of the world that does not follow that creed or religion.
- My aunt considered all of Europe to be heathendom, and refused to visit us in Amsterdam on religious grounds.
- (dated) Specifically, the non-Christian world; territories where Christianity is not the dominant religion.
- The Crusaders meant to wrest Jerusalem from heathendom, but they managed to pillage a number of lands in Christendom along the way.
- (paganism) The worldwide community that follows Heathenry, a modern pagan faith inspired by the pre-Abrahamic religions of Germanic tribes, Anglo-Saxons and Norse peoples.
2011, Urs App, The Birth of Orientalism, page 102:
- Ziegenbalg mentioned some major forms of heathendom (African, American, old European) […]
- (non-Christian world): Christendom
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