heinous

play
adjective hei·nous \ˈhā-nəs\

Definition of heinous

  1. :  hatefully or shockingly evil :  abominable

heinously

adverb

heinousness

noun

heinous was our Word of the Day on 04/15/2013. Hear the podcast!

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

Recent Examples of heinous from the Web

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.

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 and Etymology 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


HEINOUS Defined for English Language Learners

heinous

play
adjective

Definition of heinous for English Language Learners

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


Law Dictionary

heinous

play
adjective hei·nous \ˈhā-nəs\

Legal Definition of heinous

  1. :  enormously and shockingly evil a heinous crime

heinously

adverb

heinousness

noun


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