Definition of heinous
: hatefully or shockingly evil : abominable
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
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
First Known Use: 14th century
HEINOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of heinous for English Language Learners
: very bad or evil : deserving of hate or contempt
Legal Definition of heinous
: enormously and shockingly evil a heinous crime
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