I spotted the word "Pantheon" here on the first and second paragraph on The Hindu but not able to understand the editor's view.

On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, on April 14, India still finds itself unable to induct him into the pantheon of greats unquestioningly. ... We forget that Ambedkar was one of modern India’s first great economic thinkers, its constitutional draftsman and its first law minister who ensured the codification of Hindu law.

Assimilating Dr. Ambedkar into the national pantheon of the freedom struggle is difficult because his life was one of steady accretion of ideas, of making a stand on rights and of standing up to social wrongs.

[The Hindu]

As per the Cambridge dictionary the word pantheon means

a small group of people who are the most famous, important and admired in their particular area of activity.

I am more interested in the meaning and origin as that will help with understanding its usage.

  • 2
    You can look up the origins of words, called their, etymologies, in any reputable dictionary. Some dictionaries are more focused on etymologies than others and provide more details; these are called historical dictionaries and primary among them is the OED. You can also use the convenient online tool etymonline.com. That said, pantheon comes from Greek: pan (all) + theos (god) = all gods, or the complete range of gods.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 15:42
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    @Krishna Since you know that pantheon means "a small group of the most admired people" and you have the sentence "India still finds itself unable to induct [Ambedkar] into the pantheon", what still confuses you?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 16:49
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    @DanBron it's easy to take for granted that everyone knows how to exploit Google, and Google Books. Until I joined EL&U I had no idea the latter existed, until then I relied heavily on dictionaries, and I would type phrases into Google to check for prepositions, collocations etc. The OP's request is not that absurd, considering the word's relatively obscure/rare/uncommon meaning.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 20:45
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA: thanku for supporting me. Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 16:15
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    @Mari-LouA - I agree with you, but I agree with Dan, too. I think the O.P. should perhaps have elaborated a little bit by editing the question. "I am more interested in the meaning and origin as that will help with understanding its usage" is a bit vague. The comment "I would like to learn this word to use in other sentences too" helps quite a bit. I realize I'm a bit late in this conversation, but maybe these remarks can help the O.P. write a question the will be more well-received next time. And it might not be a bad idea to consider posting on English Language Learners, either.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 9:18

4 Answers 4


Let's start with etymology. The Pantheon was a physical place where the Gods ( specifically the ones from Ancient Rome) were worshipped.

Pantheon (n.):

  • c. 1300, from Pantheon, name of a temple for all the gods built in Rome c. 25 B.C. E. by Agrippa (since 609 C.E. made into the Christian church of Santa Maria Rotonda), from Greek Pantheion (hieron) "(shrine) of all the gods," from pantheion, neuter of pantheios, from pan- "all" (see pan-) + theios "of or for the gods," from theos "god" (see theo-). Sense of any group of exalted persons is first found 1590s. (Etymonline)

By extension, in the 16th century the expression came to mean an ideal place where the most important people reside and are admired by their contemporaries, that is a restricted group of very important people that may belong to different contexts, namely political, sporting, financial, social and so on.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was a very important figure in India who contributed to build its independence. As such, he should be part of the historical and political Indian pantheon , that is, the exclusive group of historical Indian figures. For some reason contemporary politicians don't think he still should be part of this exclusive group despite his popularity and the recent celebration of his 125th birth anniversary.

Sentence examples with pantheon meaning a group of famous or important people: (ODO)

  • In the pantheon of rock family dynasties, one surely stands head and shoulders above the others.

  • I have been accumulating bits and pieces of information on Skurt Doyle for many years, always conscious of his importance in the pantheon of local sporting legends of the past.

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  • In fact, the place where the tombs of the most distinguished Frenchmen are is called the Panthéon, although (obviously) they are not gods, and it is a perfect example of the change in the meaning of the expression you are mentioning. I guess the author of the article on The Hindu was thinking about that.
    – JMVanPelt
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 17:39

In Hindu religion 'Pantheon' means we can say all the gods of a people or religion collectively (group of famous people)


You have seen the dictionary definition of pantheon, and you understand it's etymology, but you still need help understanding the sentences you provide.

I will try to write a simple explanation.

The people of India do not recognize Ambedkar as one of the most important people who helped make modern India the great country it is today. He is not as famous as Ghandi or Nehru, who have been given places in India's pantheon of great leaders.

People do not seem to understand how important he is or how great his contributions were, partly because his work was constant and quiet.


The difficulty with the example is that The Hindu leaves some portions of its sentence implicit. The use of "pantheon" would be more clear (but less poetic and metaphoric) by this rewording:

On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, on April 14, India still finds itself unable to induct him into the pantheon of all great Indian economists unquestioningly.

  • The original poster placed this comment to the question: "though the origin of the word is clean now. but still I don't know what editor wants to express on my example sentence". My hope is that this rewording clarifies the meaning of the original sentence.
    – Cord
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 16:58

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