[god] /gɒd/

the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute:
the God of Islam.
(lowercase) one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
(often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception:
the god of mercy.
Christian Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle.
(lowercase) an image of a deity; an idol.
(lowercase) any deified person or object.
(often lowercase) Gods, Theater.

verb (used with object), godded, godding. (lowercase)
to regard or treat as a god; deify; idolize.
(used to express disappointment, disbelief, weariness, frustration, annoyance, or the like):
God, do we have to listen to this nonsense?
a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force related adjective divine
an image, idol, or symbolic representation of such a deity
any person or thing to which excessive attention is given: money was his god
a man who has qualities regarded as making him superior to other men
(in pl) the gallery of a theatre
(theol) the sole Supreme Being, eternal, spiritual, and transcendent, who is the Creator and ruler of all and is infinite in all attributes; the object of worship in monotheistic religions
play God, to behave in an imperious or superior manner
an oath or exclamation used to indicate surprise, annoyance, etc (and in such expressions as My God! or God Almighty!)

Old English god “supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person,” from Proto-Germanic *guthan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ), from PIE *ghut- “that which is invoked” (cf. Old Church Slavonic zovo “to call,” Sanskrit huta- “invoked,” an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- “to call, invoke.”

But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- “poured,” from root *gheu- “to pour, pour a libation” (source of Greek khein “to pour,” also in the phrase khute gaia “poured earth,” referring to a burial mound; see found (v.2)). “Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound” [Watkins]. Cf. also Zeus.

Not related to good. Originally a neuter noun in Germanic, the gender shifted to masculine after the coming of Christianity. Old English god probably was closer in sense to Latin numen. A better word to translate deus might have been Proto-Germanic *ansuz, but this was used only of the highest deities in the Germanic religion, and not of foreign gods, and it was never used of the Christian God. It survives in English mainly in the personal names beginning in Os-.

I want my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, because it means that I shall be cheated and robbed and cuckolded less often. … If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. [Voltaire]

God bless you after someone sneezes is credited to St. Gregory the Great, but the pagan Romans (Absit omen) and Greeks had similar customs.

Related Terms

by guess and by god, older than god

(A.S. and Dutch God; Dan. Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew _’El_, from a word meaning to be strong; (2) of _’Eloah_, plural _’Elohim_. The singular form, _Eloah_, is used only in poetry. The plural form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew word Jehovah (q.v.), the only other word generally employed to denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered in the Authorized Version by “LORD,” printed in small capitals. The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is nowhere any argument to prove it. He who disbelieves this truth is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Ps. 14:1). The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are: (1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by reason. (2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are, (a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause. (b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature. (c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. Conscience and human history testify that “verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.” The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex. 34:6,7. (see also Deut. 6:4; 10:17; Num. 16:22; Ex. 15:11; 33:19; Isa. 44:6; Hab. 3:6; Ps. 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are also systematically classified in Rev. 5:12 and 7:12. God’s attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e., those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness, goodness, etc.


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