heresy

noun
her·​e·​sy | \ ˈher-ə-sē, ˈhe-rə-\
plural heresies

Definition of heresy

1a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma (see dogma sense 2) They were accused of heresy.
b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice To disagree with the party leadership was heresy.
b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards our democratic heresy which holds that … truth is to be found by majority vote— M. W. Straight

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Synonyms & Antonyms for heresy

Synonyms

dissent, dissidence, heterodoxy, nonconformity

Antonyms

conformity, orthodoxy

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Examples of heresy in a Sentence

They were accused of heresy. He was preaching dangerous heresies.

Recent Examples on the Web

The cat’s reputation worsened during the medieval era, as the Catholic Church battled against heresies and dissent. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "The Dark Lore of Black Cats," 18 Oct. 2018 The Roman Inquisition began in 1542 as part of the Catholic Church's counter-reformation against Protestantism, and prosecuted people for heresy and other doctrinal crimes. Fox News, "Vatican's Inquisition, Index of Banned Books open for study," 14 May 2018 Lisa Tepes, doctor and wife of Dracula, is burned at the stake by the Inquisition for heresy. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Here's Every New Scary Movie and TV Show Hitting Netflix Before Halloween," 24 Sep. 2018 Galileo was fortunate not to have been burned at the stake for his claims; thousands of less-fortunate people around the world were executed for heresy over the centuries that the Inquisition existed. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Newly discovered letter by Galileo resolves puzzling historical mystery," 22 Sep. 2018 Delmonico’s chef Billy Oliva knows that purists might call the burger heresy. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Breakfast Lasagna Benedict? New York Chefs Offer Fresh Takes on Classic Egg Dish," 10 May 2018 What is heresy to one evangelical could be orthodoxy to another. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "What’s Next for Evangelicalism?," 7 June 2018 Furthermore, Douglass was a black man of consistently radical opinion, also supporting such heresies as women’s suffrage and Irish home rule. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "The face of 19th-century America," 5 Apr. 2018 In such a volatile climate, being accused of heresy was a constant danger, and Colonna walked a narrow line, communing with men who would later flee or be arrested, her poetry and letters flirting with the language of Calvin and Luther. Sarah Dunant, New York Times, "Who Was Vittoria Colonna? Just One of Italy’s Great Poets...," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heresy.' 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 heresy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for heresy

Middle English heresie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed (with assimilation to the suffix -ie -y entry 2) from Late Latin haeresis, heresis "school (of philosophy or theology), sect, belief contrary to church dogma," borrowed from Greek haíresis "act of taking, choice, course of action or thought, system of principles, sect, faction," from haireîn "to take, grasp, (middle voice) obtain, choose, prefer" (of obscure origin) + -sis -sis

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Statistics for heresy

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for heresy

The first known use of heresy was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for heresy

heresy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of heresy

: a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion

heresy

noun
her·​e·​sy | \ ˈher-ə-sē \
plural heresies

Kids Definition of heresy

1 : the holding of religious beliefs opposed to church doctrine : such a belief
2 : belief or opinion opposed to a generally accepted view It's heresy in my family to not love baseball.

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More from Merriam-Webster on heresy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heresy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heresy

Spanish Central: Translation of heresy

Nglish: Translation of heresy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heresy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heresy

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