anath·e·ma·tize | \-ˌtīz \
anathematized; anathematizing

Definition of anathematize 

transitive verb

: to pronounce an anathema upon

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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."

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

Recent Examples on the Web

The most serious native challenge to liberalism, made by the slaveholding oligarchy of the Old South, was crushed on the battlefield, and, despite the efforts of an ever-dwindling number of apologists, morally anathematized. Park Macdougald, Daily Intelligencer, "Has the Operating System for the Western World Crashed?," 27 Feb. 2018 In some ways, the grotesqueries of his persona, rather than anathematizing him to voters, only enhanced his appeal among those wishing for something different. Jamelle Bouie, Slate Magazine, "Protest Works," 24 Jan. 2017 BuzzFeed was so anathematized that by presser’s end, fellow journalists were picking up their lunch trays and moving to the other side of the cafeteria. Will Oremus, Slate Magazine, "How Trump Is Manipulating the Media," 12 Jan. 2017 But 33 members of the law faculty published a letter anathematizing her. Mona Charen, National Review, "Leftists Feed Extremists They Fear with Attacks on Amy Wax," 8 Sep. 2017 And if anyone shall be led by his cupidity or arrogance to break this truce, by the authority of God and with the sanction of this Council he shall be anathematized. James Carroll, The New Yorker, "Pope Francis Proposes a Cure for Populism," 28 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anathematize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anathematize

1566, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for anathematize

The first known use of anathematize was in 1566

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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