Is there a word for calling or considering yourself a deity?

There was a king of Shinar called Nimrod, who called himself a deity according to certain Islamic scholars and made people worship himself. Nimrod was in the age of prophet Ibrahim(Abraham). This great prophet and a friend of Allah, also known as the patriarch of all subsequent prophets, died at the age of one hundred and seventy five years.

  • 4
    You might try "made himself a god". The "regular" way to say this. Caligula made himself a god.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:50
  • 2
    How heavy is your emphasis on the idea that it's the person who is styling himself a god as opposed to a person whom other people style as a god?
    – Jeutnarg
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:40
  • 5
    There is an old joke about the braniac who told God he had figured out how man was created. He knew about how soil worked, and minerals, water and all. And he knew anatomy. So comes the showdown. He tells God he is going to demonstrate, and reaches down for a scoop of dirt to start with. But God stopped him, saying "Use your own dirt!"
    – SDsolar
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:12

6 Answers 6


Yes, there is such a word in English. It's called deification whereby a human being is made into and worshiped as a god. This was a common practice among many ancient nations.

Example #1:

He deified himself to make people worship him as a god.

Example #2:

The Romans deified their emperors making them equal to gods.

Another very similar word in meaning to deify would be idolize.


He was idolized by his tribe and revered as a god.

  • 1
    To be clear, "to deify" is to make some person or thing into a god. For example, the Roman emperors were often deified after their deaths.
    – Andrew
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:17
  • @Andrew but he used to force people to worship himself when he was alive
    – Arman
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:30
  • 1
    Deified is right, but self-deified is an awkward and rare construction. A single word that covers this idea may not be possible.
    – KRyan
    Jan 20, 2017 at 16:07
  • 2
    Self-deification is used with some regularity, with almost 15,000 examples in Google Books results; for some reason, the verb form is not nearly as popular—there are only 82 hits in Google Books.
    – 1006a
    Jan 20, 2017 at 17:24
  • 2
    I like apotheosis, personally.
    – JAB
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:17

The best term for this is self-styled god or self-proclaimed god. Using deify with a reflexive pronoun, like he deified himself, could also work.

Self-styled or self-proclaimed

English has a lot of terms for someone who names himself something: self-styled, self-declared, self-proclaimed, and so on. Many of these have their origins in medieval titles, or styles, so a self-styled king would be someone who is not recognized as king by any country, but refers to himself as king and tries to insist on royal honorifics (your majesty and so on).

However, these terms are generic and can apply to any title or honor—including divinity. A self-styled god or self-proclaimed god would be the same as a self-styled king, but for divinity rather than royalty.

Deify—but not self-deify

To deify is to make something into a god. It could be used to refer to the actor him-or-herself, as in he deified himself.

The construction self-deify is understandable, but awkward and basically unheard of—see this graph of usage of deify vs. self-deify, where deify enjoys some usage, but self-deify is literally not found at all. So self-deify could be English, but not idiomatic English.

A similar word is apotheosis, which means to become a god. Self-apotheosis, though, doesn’t really make much sense, and apotheosis is less well-known anyway. It’s also more positive—the term usually refers to someone who actually does become a god (it’s from Greek; that sort of thing happens in Greek myths). Deify instead refers more to someone who is worshiped as a god.

  • English allows for things like self-deify but there would have to be a really good reason for using it.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 23:19

It could be called a 'god complex', or 'delusional', 'messiah complex' but it depends on whether or not the person is a god. Followers of many religions would say that their god knew s/he was a god and was not delusional. 'Delusions of grandeur', might also be appropriate.

There is the problem that in using these words that some people might be offended. If you spoke this way about any recognised-by-many deity, you could find yourself in trouble.

In fiction, if you are making up a 'new' god, you'd probably be okay. In a group of agnostics, you would be fine with any of the terms I suggested, though they are negative. If you want an positive way to say 'delusional', I'm stumped.

  • 1
    Unknowingly imaginative? ;)
    – Wildcard
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:39

I think Cookie Monster's answer is the most accurate here. But I found another word that might be helpful. It's divinize(verb) or divinization(noun) . And I think this Wikipedia article might be useful for your research.

  • In my somewhat long life, I have never seen divinize.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 23:19
  • Just because it is in the dictionary, doesn't make it usable. If you are learning a language or even improving your skills, it's best to avoid arcane terms.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 23:33
  • @Lambie and of course Im here learning the language. I think everyone does. Jan 20, 2017 at 23:45
  • Well, I am not here learning the language. I am here to give people what I know.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 23:56
  • @Lambie Okay, you are an expert, you dont have to learn :) Jan 20, 2017 at 23:57

There are self-deification and self-divinization (both are also spelt without the hyphen). However, these words are usually used in a more figurative, anthropocentric manner, rather than considering oneself literally a god.


Apotheosis is a noun describing the process of elevating something to the status of deity. The verb form is apotheosize.

  • 1
    apotheosis is not related to making oneself a god at all.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 23:20
  • "a·poth·e·o·sis əˌpäTHēˈōsəs/ noun the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax. "his appearance as Hamlet was the apotheosis of his career" the elevation of someone to divine status; deification." from Google dictionary. The 'oneself' part is missing.
    – WRX
    Jan 21, 2017 at 16:15

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