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 Yousafzai has been an outspoken proponent for young women and girls to have the right to a fair education since 2012, when she was involved in a heinous assassination attempt on a bus. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to Join Malala Yousafzai for a Virtual Chat for International Day of the Girl," 8 Oct. 2020 Monique's continuous efforts to deflect attention from her actions is a testament to the magnitude of her heinous assault. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, "The Real Housewives of Potomac's Monique Samuels on fight with Candiace: ‘I'm no one’s stereotype’," 7 Oct. 2020 Does anyone think Donald Trump probably wouldn’t say heinous things about nuns in private? Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Disdain Is a Small Price," 30 Sep. 2020 The documentary has forced Watts to think about his heinous actions, says the source. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Chris Watts 'Will Never See' Netflix Doc, But Its Release Sent Him 'to Some Dark Places': Friend," 5 Oct. 2020 Ordinarily, such a cowardly and heinous act would be universally condemned, but apparently not in 2020. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 17 Sep. 2020 Behold a fiendishly heinous compound adjective, another curse of the pandemic, that’s now used to cover up personal desires and quests for power and money. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Big Ten football is suddenly ‘safe’? In the reopening debate for sports and entertainment, that word is a lie.," 16 Sep. 2020 That background leads me to believe Christenson, with hopes of managing one day, wouldn’t suddenly choose a postgame celebration line to unveil a heinous gesture on camera that would end all possibility of one day running a big-league team. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Plus: No matter who’s at fault, no more melees, please," 12 Aug. 2020 To defend Cuties now is to risk appearing to endorse a list of truly heinous actions. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "How Cuties Got Caught in a Gamergate-Style Internet Clash," 15 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heinous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heinous. Accessed 25 Oct. 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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Comments on heinous

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