her·​e·​tic | \ ˈher-ə-ˌtik How to pronounce heretic (audio) , ˈhe-rə- \

Definition of heretic

1 religion : a person who differs in opinion from established religious dogma (see dogma sense 2) especially : a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who refuses to acknowledge or accept a revealed truth The church regards them as heretics.
2 : one who differs in opinion from an accepted belief or doctrine : nonconformist

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Examples of heretic in a Sentence

The church regards them as heretics. Galileo was condemned as a heretic for supporting Copernicus's thesis that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa.
Recent Examples on the Web As this example illustrates, one of the hardest questions a science commentator faces is when to take a heretic seriously. Matt Ridley, WSJ, "What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Science," 9 Oct. 2020 Guston, too, was a heretic in flight from the high priests of culture. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "Anger at Donald Trump may turn great artists into political cartoonists. It’s happened before.," 4 Sep. 2020 That sometimes put him at odds with more hard-line Orthodox rabbis, including prominent ones who treated him as a heretic and told their followers to spurn his works. Joseph Berger,, "Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz; made the Talmud more accessible," 9 Aug. 2020 In 1431, Joan of Arc, condemned as a heretic, was burned at the stake in Rouen, France., "This day in history," 30 May 2020 Only a heretic could so do, and they can be burned for apostasy. Evan Waite, The New Yorker, "Dr. Clifton’s Fantastical Miracle Elixir Return Policy," 19 May 2020 The land is ruled by King Uther Pendragon, who allows fanatical Red Paladins to roam the land crucifying villages of people as heretics. Christian Holub,, "See Katherine Langford wield Excalibur in exclusive preview images from Netflix's Cursed," 7 May 2020 His subjects include the past; his revered fellow reformer William Tyndale, the great Bible translator burned as a heretic; himself. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, "Hilary Mantel Takes Thomas Cromwell Down," 5 Apr. 2020 After an overloaded ferry sank in 2014, killing more than 300 people, South Koreans were shocked to learn that the ferry company was controlled by a religious leader who had been shunned as a heretic by mainstream churches. New York Times, "Shadowy Church Is at Center of Coronavirus Outbreak in South Korea," 10 Mar. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heretic

Middle English heretik, borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French heretic, heretik, borrowed from Late Latin haereticus, hereticus, borrowed from Late Greek hairetikós, from hairetikós, adjective, "departing from dogma, heretical," going back to Greek, "able to choose, due to choice," from hairetós "that may be taken, eligible, chosen," verbal adjective of haireîn "to take, grasp, (middle voice) obtain, choose, prefer" + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at heresy

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

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Cite this Entry

“Heretic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for heretic



English Language Learners Definition of heretic

: someone who believes or teaches something that goes against accepted or official beliefs


her·​e·​tic | \ ˈher-ə-ˌtik How to pronounce heretic (audio) \

Kids Definition of heretic

: a person who believes or teaches something opposed to accepted beliefs (as of a church)

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