heinous

adjective
hei·​nous | \ˈhā-nəs \

Definition of heinous 

: hatefully or shockingly evil : abominable

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Other Words from heinous

heinously adverb
heinousness noun

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.

Examples of heinous in a Sentence

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 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 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 These murders were especially heinous. people accused of committing heinous crimes
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yeah, heinous expectations met with a nice, competent person. Fox News, "Trump, Democrats gear up for Supreme Court showdown," 3 July 2018 The results of the inkblot tests revealed heinous interpretations of simple black-and-white splotches. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "MIT Scientists Create 'Psychopath' AI Named Norman," 7 June 2018 That dominance is a concern, especially when YouTube is under scrutiny for allowing—and even recommending—fake and heinous videos. David Pierce, WSJ, "How to Keep Google From Owning Your Online Life," 8 May 2018 Those aggravated factors included that multiple murders had been committed and that in Webster's case, the murder was especially cruel, heinous or depraved. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Hung jury prompts mistrial in death-penalty phase of double murderer who killed teens," 2 May 2018 Until the last few decades, state legislatures set the limitation period for most felonies at five years or less, though murder, considered the most heinous crime, usually had no deadline. Ruth Padawer, New York Times, "Should Statutes of Limitations for Rape Be Abolished?," 19 June 2018 Step 5: Envision The final step is to take a deep breath and envision the two competing endings to the heinous, imaginary crime foiled by your police call. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Read This Before Calling the Police: For Wypipo Who Have Considered Cops When Privilege Wasn’t Enough," 17 May 2018 These heinous, cowardly assaults are an attack not just on law enforcement, but on the rule of law. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "New bill offers police officers protections similar to those for hate crime victims," 8 May 2018 Another killing that's just as heinous, just as unthinkable as the two that were committed a week and a half ago in the commons at Marshall County High School. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "The gun that killed Marshall County students could kill again, thanks to lawmakers | Gerth," 1 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heinous.' 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 heinous

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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Dictionary Entries near heinous

Heine

Heinesque

heinie

heinous

heir

heir apparency

heir apparent

Statistics for heinous

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for heinous

The first known use of heinous was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for heinous

heinous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of heinous

: very bad or evil : deserving of hate or contempt

heinous

adjective
hei·​nous | \ˈhā-nəs \

Legal Definition of heinous 

: enormously and shockingly evil a heinous crime

Other Words from heinous

heinously adverb
heinousness noun

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Comments on heinous

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