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adjective hei·nous \ˈhā-nəs\

Simple Definition of heinous

  • : very bad or evil : deserving of hate or contempt

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of heinous

  1. :  hatefully or shockingly evil :  abominable

heinously adverb
heinousness noun

Examples of heinous in a sentence

  1. While admittedly the crimes rappers commit have often been more heinous than those committed by other entertainers, rappers seem to face more opprobrium. Though hip hop has become mainstream, much of mass media still has antiquated ideas of rap music and rappers. —Vibe, May 2001

  2. The verdict … also defined rape for the first time as a crime against humanity, one of the most heinous crimes. The tribunal has previously tried cases involving rape, but defined the rape as torture. —Marlise Simons, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2001

  3. It's hard enough to figure out what a defendant was thinking when he committed the heinous and bizarre act that has made him a candidate for the insanity defense. And state of mind is what the insanity defense is all about. —Laura Mansnerus, New York Times Book Review, 26 Oct. 1997

  4. These murders were especially heinous.

  5. people accused of committing heinous crimes

Did You Know?

Humans have contrasted love with hate and good with evil for eons, putting love and good on one side and hate and evil on the other. The etymology of heinous reflects the association of hate with that which is evil or horrible. During the 14th century, English borrowed "heinous" from the Middle French haine, meaning "hate." Over time English speakers came to use the word to reflect the sense of horror evoked by intense hatred.

Origin of heinous

Middle English, from Anglo-French hainus, heinous, from haine hate, from hair to hate, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German haz hate — more at hate

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with heinous

Law Dictionary


adjective hei·nous \ˈhā-nəs\

Legal Definition of heinous

  1. :  enormously and shockingly evil <a heinous crime>

heinously adverb
heinousness noun

Seen and Heard

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expressing little or no emotion

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