heinous

adjective
hei·​nous | \ ˈhā-nəs How to pronounce heinous (audio) \

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 Less than a month after leading his University of Louisville basketball team to the top of the national polls, Mack has incurred the wrath of some of the school’s more strident spectators for the heinous crime of losing two straight games. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville coach Chris Mack isn't bothered by criticism ... and he also doesn't deserve it," 6 Jan. 2020 While priests sometimes consider defrockings to be equivalent to a death sentence, such seemingly minor sanctions for such heinous crimes have long outraged victims, whose lives are forever scarred by their abuse. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019 While priests sometimes consider defrockings to be equivalent to a death sentence, such seemingly minor sanctions for such heinous crimes have long outraged victims, whose lives are forever scarred by their abuse. Nicole Winfield, BostonGlobe.com, "Vatican tribunal now overwhelmed by clergy abuse cases," 20 Dec. 2019 Students or other persons found to be involved in such a heinous crime will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Discipline Management Plan/ Student Code of Conduct and applicable laws. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "Katy ISD investigating report of sexual assault at Mayde Creek HS campus," 6 Dec. 2019 My uncertainty about using the word has only become stronger now that people often use it to describe the perpetrators of mass shootings and blame their heinous acts on mental illness. Self, "No, You Shouldn’t Call Someone ‘Crazy.’ But Do We Have to Ban the Word Entirely?," 27 Nov. 2019 Star defensive end Myles Garrett is suspended at least through the end of the season for the heinous act of striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott can state his case for new contract vs. Patriots," 23 Nov. 2019 Infanticide was, until recently, universally considered a heinous crime. Wesley J. Smith, National Review, "Dark Anniversary: The State of Assisted Suicide 25 Years after Measure 16," 19 Nov. 2019 The scheming and cruel femme fatale, Milady de Winter, is judged guilty of the most heinous murders by an ad hoc tribunal consisting of the musketeers and her late husband’s brother. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "If you only know ‘The Three Musketeers,’ you owe yourself the pleasure of its sequel, ‘Twenty Years After’," 13 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for heinous

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

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heinous.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heinous. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for heinous

heinous

adjective
How to pronounce heinous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heinous

: very bad or evil : deserving of hate or contempt

heinous

adjective
hei·​nous | \ ˈhā-nəs How to pronounce heinous (audio) \

Legal Definition of heinous

: enormously and shockingly evil a heinous crime

Other Words from heinous

heinously adverb
heinousness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on heinous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heinous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heinous

Spanish Central: Translation of heinous

Nglish: Translation of heinous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heinous for Arabic Speakers

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