Share this entry
deism Syllabification: de·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈdēˌizəm/

Definition of deism in English:


Belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind. Compare with theism.
Example sentences
  • He reacts against the heresy of deism, the belief that God wound up the universe in the beginning but lets it run without intervention.
  • Not only was Newton not a deist; he believed deism heretical and harmful.
  • As a prelude to this Genesis-geology controversy, the eighteenth century also witnessed the spread of two competing but largely similar worldviews: deism and atheism.


Pronunciation: /ˈdēist/
Example sentences
  • Not only was Newton not a deist; he believed deism heretical and harmful.
  • Indeed he did, but he used it in connection with a deist theology that, however thin, gave him reason to think of humanity as having a value derived from a creator.
  • By the middle of the eighteenth century, though, these long-held beliefs were beginning to be called into question, and the European deists were the primary inquisitors.
Pronunciation: /dēˈistik/
Example sentences
  • Some of the many positions on creationism include progressive, deistic, theistic, ex nihilo, and directive creationism.
  • The worldview of the society around us is deistic at best and we follow our culture in not giving too much credence to speculations about demons or spirits.
  • Theological speculation and deistic tendencies were much discussed and much feared.
Pronunciation: /dēˈistikəl/
Example sentences
  • In 1732 he published The Case of Reason, arguing faith against deistical scepticism.
  • A number of deistical societies, ‘temples of reason,’ and newspapers devoted to rational religion were launched.
  • A few testimonies from the least exceptionable of deistical writers must suffice on this topic.


Late 17th century: from Latin deus 'god' + -ism.

Definition of deism in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources