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 He was finally sent to prison in 1992, convicted of terrorism, among other crimes, which covered his role in the most heinous slayings. Juan Forero, WSJ, "Notorious Hit Man for Escobar’s Medellín Cartel Dies at 57," 6 Feb. 2020 Set in 1969 around the saga of decent but struggling actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his loyal, quietly lethal and totally hot stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), the tale even fantastically sets right the decade's most heinous stain. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Which film deserves best picture? We passionately defend all nine Oscar contenders," 6 Feb. 2020 The attack was so heinous; the attacker so practiced. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the True Story Behind Netflix's Unbelievable," 19 Sep. 2019 When somebody gets hurt because of that, that is one of the most heinous crimes. Dorany Pineda, latimes.com, "Barry Kowalski, who won convictions in Rodney King civil rights case, dies at 74," 9 July 2019 In one of the most heinous crimes of the cold war in Latin America, an American-trained army unit slaughtered almost a thousand unarmed civilians, mainly women and children, at the village of El Mozote in 1981. The Economist, "Are amnesties in Latin America always a bad idea?," 29 June 2019 Even the Orlando Magic and their G-League team have been sucked in by the massive tentacles of the most heinous sports scandal in the history of our country. Mike Bianchi, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic cut Adreian Payne to avoid sexual-assault scandal at Michigan St., USA Gymnastics," 27 Jan. 2018 Many scholars believe that presidents can be impeached for heinous acts that do not necessarily violate the law. Keith Koffler, Washington Examiner, "White House argues a president can only be impeached for violating the law and that Trump never did," 20 Jan. 2020 But that pride and enjoyment of his accomplishment was short-lived before their lives became living hells with the onslaught of media attention and presumption of guilt for such a heinous act. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "‘Richard Jewell’ one of the best depictions of a Southerner in years," 27 Dec. 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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The first known use of heinous was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heinous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heinous?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=heinou01. Accessed 24 Feb. 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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