Etymology
Advertisement
Laodicean (adj.)

"lukewarm in religion," 1560s, from Laodicea, ancient city of Phrygia Minor (modern Latakia in Syria) whose early Christians were chastised in the Bible for indifference to their religion (Revelation iii:14-16). The city is said to be named for the 3c B.C.E. Syrian queen Laodice, wife of Antiochus II.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Islam (n.)

"religious system revealed by Muhammad," 1816, from Arabic islam, literally "submission" (to the will of God), from root of aslama "he resigned, he surrendered, he submitted," causative conjunction of salima "he was safe," and related to salam "peace."

... Islam is the only major religion, along with Buddhism (if we consider the name of the religion to come from Budd, the Divine Intellect, and not the Buddha), whose name is not related to a person or ethnic group, but to the central idea of the religion. ["The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity," Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 2002]

Earlier English names for the faith include Mahometry (late 15c.), Muhammadism (1610s), Islamism (1747), and Ismaelism (c. 1600; see Ismailite). The Ismailites were not numerous in Islam, but among them were the powerful Fatimid dynasty in Egypt and the Assassins, both of which loomed large in European imagination. This use also is in part from Ishmaelite, a name formerly given (especially by Jews) to Arabs, as descendants of Ishmael (q.v.).

Related entries & more 
Averroes 
Latinization of name of Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) Arab philosopher and physician of Spain and Morocco. He reintroduced, before the Renaissance, something of Aristotle's doctrines and his followers were particularly noted for their separation of philosophy from religion. Related: Averroist; Averoistic.
Related entries & more 
Aesir 

collective name for the chief gods of the pagan Scandinavian religion, from Old Norse plural of āss "god," from Proto-Germanic *ansu- (source also of Old High German ansi, Old English os, Gothic ans "god"), from PIE root *ansu- "spirit" (source also of first element in Ahura Mazda (q.v.)).

Related entries & more 
Manichaeism (n.)

1550s, "the religion of the Manichees" (late 14c.) a Gnostic Christian sect named for its founder, Mani (Latin Manichæus), c. 215-275, Syriac-speaking apostle from a Jesus cult in Mesopotamia in 240s, who taught a universal religion. Vegetarian and visionary, they saw "particles of light and goodness" trapped in evil matter and regarded Satan as co-eternal with God. The universe was a scene of struggle between good and evil.

The sect was characterized by dualism and a double-standard of perfectionist "elects" and a larger group of fellow travelers who would require several reincarnations before their particles of light would be liberated. It spread through the Roman Empire and survived at late as 7c.; its doctrines were revived or redeveloped by the Albigenses and Catharists.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Baha'i (n.)
1889, Beha'i, mystical, tolerant Iranian religion founded by a Mirza Ali Mohammed ibn Radhik, Shiraz merchant executed for heresy in 1850, and named for his leading disciple, Baha Allah (Persian "splendor of God;" ultimately from Arabic). It also is sometimes called Babism, after the name taken by the founder, Bab-ed-Din, "gate of the faith."
Related entries & more 
Dracula (n.)

name of the vampire king in Bram Stoker's novel (1897). It was a surname of Prince Vlad II of Wallachia (d. 1476), and means in Romanian "son of Dracul," literally "the dragon" (see dragon), from the name and emblem taken by Vlad's father, also named Vlad, c. 1431 when he joined the Order of the Dragon, founded 1418 by Sigismund the Glorious of Hungary to defend the Christian religion from the Turks and crush heretics and schismatics.

Related entries & more 
Odin 

chief Teutonic god, the All-Father, a 19c. revival in reference to Scandinavian neo-paganism, from Danish, from Old Norse Oðinn, from Proto-Germanic *Wodanaz, name of the chief Germanic god (source of Old English Woden, Old High German Wuotan), from PIE *wod-eno-, *wod-ono- "raging, mad, inspired," from root *wet- (1) "to blow; inspire, spiritually arouse" (see wood (adj.)). Related: Odinism (1796 in reference to the ancient religion; by 1855 in reference to a modern Germanic revival).

Related entries & more 
Frigg 

in Germanic religion, queen of heaven and goddess of married love, wife of Odin; the name is in Old English, but only in compounds such as Frigedæg "Friday," Frigeæfen (what we would call "Thursday evening"). The modern English word is from Old Norse Frigg, a noun use of the feminine of an adjective meaning "beloved, loving," also "wife," from Proto-Germanic *frijjo "beloved, wife," from PIE *priy-a- "beloved," from PIE root *pri- "to love."

Related entries & more 
Wicca (n.)

An Old English masc. noun meaning "male witch, wizard, soothsayer, sorcerer, astrologer, magician;" see witch. Use of the word in modern contexts traces to English folklorist Gerald Gardner (1884-1964), who is said to have joined circa 1939 an occult group in New Forest, Hampshire, England, for which he claimed an unbroken tradition to medieval times. Gardner seems to have first used it in print in 1954, in his book "Witchcraft Today" ("Witches were the Wica or wise people, with herbal

knowledge and a working occult teaching usually used for good ...."). In published and unpublished material, he apparently only ever used the word as a mass noun referring to adherents of the practice and not as the name of the practice itself. Some of his followers continue to use it in this sense. According to Gardner's book "The Meaning of Witchcraft" (1959), the word, as used in the initiation ceremony, played a key role in his experience:

I realised that I had stumbled upon something interesting; but I was half-initiated before the word, 'Wica' which they used hit me like a thunderbolt, and I knew where I was, and that the Old Religion still existed. And so I found myself in the Circle, and there took the usual oath of secrecy, which bound me not to reveal certain things.

In the late 1960s the term came into use as the title of a modern pagan movement associated with witchcraft. The first printed reference in this usage seems to be 1969, in "The Truth About Witchcraft" by freelance author Hans Holzer:

If the practice of the Old Religion, which is also called Wicca (Craft of the Wise), and thence, witchcraft, is a reputable and useful cult, then it is worthy of public interest.

And, quoting witch Alex Sanders:

"No, a witch wedding still needs a civil ceremony to make it legal. Wicca itself as a religion is not registered yet. But it is about time somebody registered it, I think. I've done all I can to call attention to our religion."

Sanders was a highly visible representative of neo-pagan Witchcraft in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During this time he appears to have popularized use of the term in this sense. Later books c. 1989 teaching modernized witchcraft using the same term account for its rise and popularity, especially in U.S.

Related entries & more