heresy

noun

her·​e·​sy ˈher-ə-sē How to pronounce heresy (audio)
ˈhe-rə-
plural heresies
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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 voteM. W. Straight

Examples of heresy in a Sentence

They were accused of heresy. He was preaching dangerous heresies.
Recent Examples on the Web In 1633, Galileo faced the Inquisition and was found guilty of heresy and sentenced to house arrest by Pope Urban VIII for the remainder of his life, says History.com. Maeghan Dolph, Fox News, 3 Mar. 2024 On the North Massachusetts coast, 25 miles from Boston, Salem is infamous for a period of persecution, of local people accused of witchcraft and heresy. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Oct. 2023 At this time, says the heresy: This whole World stands firm for a Season, since there is a great Building being erected outside of the World, At the Hour when its Architect shall complete it, the entire World shall be dissolved. Matt Thompson, Spin, 10 Sep. 2023 He was even accused of heresy in the 1530s for making a few critical comments about the church. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 25 Dec. 2023 The idea might sound like rock’n’roll heresy, but Bowie’s estate practically commissioned the work, conveying interest to Warner Chappell in seeing his music reinterpreted for country. Tom Roland, Billboard, 10 Oct. 2023 Her case is a modern-day heresy trial — and a harbinger for free speech in the Western world. Kristen Waggoner, National Review, 13 Aug. 2023 Evangelical Christians, a crucial voting bloc in Republican primaries, consider Mormonism to be a heresy. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 This bleak, practically apocalyptic sentiment would have been close to heresy back when the specter of Ronald Reagan hovered above any gathering of two or more Republicans. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 1 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heresy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Cite this Entry

“Heresy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heresy. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

heresy

noun
her·​e·​sy ˈher-ə-sē How to pronounce heresy (audio)
plural heresies
1
: religious opinion that is opposed to the doctrines of a church
2
: opinion that is opposed to a generally accepted belief

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