noun \ˈher-ə-sē, ˈhe-rə-\

: a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion

plural her·e·sies

Full Definition of HERESY

a :  adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma
b :  denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c :  an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
a :  dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
b :  an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

Examples of HERESY

  1. They were accused of heresy.
  2. He was preaching dangerous heresies.

Origin of HERESY

Middle English heresie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, action of taking, choice, sect, from hairein to take
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Christian Religious Terms

Pentateuch, blasphemy, curate, doxology, eremite, iconoclasm, liturgy, orison, pneuma, reliquary

Rhymes with HERESY


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Doctrine rejected as false by religious authorities. In Christianity, the orthodox theology of the church is thought to be based on divine revelation, and heretics are viewed as perversely rejecting the guidance of the church. Numerous Christian heresies appeared from the 2nd century onwards. Early heresies included Arianism, the Monophysite heresy, Pelagianism, and Donatism. Some heresies, such as Montanism, expressed faith in a new prophet who added to the body of Christian revelation. Some types of Gnosticism were heretical branches of Christianity. The major means of combating heretics in the early church was excommunication. In the 12th–13th century, the Inquisition was established to combat heresy, and heretics who refused to recant were often executed. In the 16th century the Protestant Reformation brought an end to the doctrinal unity of Western Christendom, and the concept of heresy became less important in the various Christian churches, though it continues to exist. The concept of heresy also exists in Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.


Next Word in the Dictionary: heretic
Previous Word in the Dictionary: heres necessarius
All Words Near: heresy

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up heresy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).