"belief in more gods than one," 1610s, from French polythéisme (16c.), formed from Greek polytheia "polytheism," polytheos "of or belonging to many gods," from polys "many" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts).
The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord. [Gibbon]
1670s, "belief in a deity or deities," (as opposed to atheism); by 1711 as "belief in one god" (as opposed to polytheism); by 1714 as "belief in the existence of God as creator and ruler of the universe" (as opposed to deism), the usual modern sense; see theist + -ism.
Theism assumes a living relation of God to his creatures, but does not define it. It differs from deism in that the latter is negative and involves a denial of revelation, while the former is affirmative, and underlies Christianity. One may be a theist and not be a Christian, but he cannot be a Christian and not be a theist. [Century Dictionary]
It forms all or part of: apotheosis; atheism; atheous; Dorothy; enthusiasm; fair (n.) "a stated market in a town or city;" fanatic; ferial; feast; fedora; -fest; festal; festival; festive; festoon; Festus; fete; fiesta; henotheism; monotheism; pantheism; pantheon; polytheism; profane; profanity; Thea; -theism; theist; theo-; theocracy; theodicy; Theodore; Theodosia; theogony; theology; theophany; Theophilus; theosophy; theurgy; tiffany; Timothy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek theos "god;" Latin feriae "holidays," festus "festive," fanum "temple."
It forms all or part of: accomplish; complete; compliment; comply; depletion; expletive; fele; fill; folk; full (adj.); gefilte fish; hoi polloi; implement; manipulation; nonplus; plebe; plebeian; plebiscite; pleiotropy; Pleistocene; plenary; plenitude; plenty; plenum; plenipotentiary; pleo-; pleonasm; plethora; Pliocene; pluperfect; plural; pluri-; plus; Pollux; poly-; polyamorous; polyandrous; polyclinic; polydactyl; polydipsia; Polydorus; polyethylene; polyglot; polygon; polygraph; polygyny; polyhedron; polyhistor; polymath; polymer; polymorphous; Polynesia; polyp; Polyphemus; polyphony; polysemy; polysyllabic; polytheism; replenish; replete; supply; surplus; volkslied.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit purvi "much," prayah "mostly;" Avestan perena-, Old Persian paru "much;" Greek polys "much, many," plethos "people, multitude, great number," ploutos "wealth;" Latin plus "more," plenus "full;" Lithuanian pilus "full, abundant;" Old Church Slavonic plunu; Gothic filu "much," Old Norse fjöl-, Old English fela, feola "much, many;" Old English folgian; Old Irish lan, Welsh llawn "full;" Old Irish il, Welsh elu "much."