Definition of anathematize
: to pronounce an anathema upon
anathematize was our Word of the Day on 01/10/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of anathematize in a sentence
heretics anathematized by the church leaders
fundamentalist preachers who anathematize any departure from a literal interpretation of the Bible
Did You Know?
When 16th-century English speakers needed a verb meaning "to condemn by anathema" (that is, by an official curse from church authority), "anathematize" proved to be just the right word. But "anathematize" didn't originate in English as a combination of the noun "anathema" and the suffix -ize. Rather, our verb is based on forebears in Late Latin ("anathematizare") and Greek ("anathematizein"). "Anathematize" can still indicate solemn, formal condemnation, but today it can also have milder applications. The same is true of "anathema," which now often means simply "a vigorous denunciation."
First Known Use of anathematize
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