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

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 Last week’s heinous crime will not steal our purpose, which is embedded in our country’s founding documents. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Rochelle Riley: Threats to journalists are threats to America," 8 July 2018 Teams may also prefer to avoid a person who denies a heinous action and, by extension, implies that his victim—a six-year-old child at the time she was molested—is lying. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "There Is No Moral Justification for the Royals or Any Team to Sign Luke Heimlich," 26 June 2018 Screenslaver’s thing is hypnotizing people through their screens, getting them to commit heinous acts. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Incredibles 2 Addresses the State of the Union," 19 June 2018 Brown seems like a such a sweet, honest young girl, which is why contrasting her image with such heinous statements evokes a reaction. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "How the “homophobic Millie Bobby Brown” meme made the actress quit Twitter.," 14 June 2018 My top priority if elected will be to make appropriate pretrial bond decisions on defendants who are alleged to have very serious and heinous crimes such as murder, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping, home invasions and domestic violence. Nick Hollkamp, The Courier-Journal, "Voters guide: Candidates for family court and district judges," 16 May 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

12 Sep 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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