her·​e·​tic | \ˈher-ə-ˌtik, 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

Thus the Puritans found themselves in parallel campaigns: a political struggle to dominate the heretics to the south and a decades-long war of cultural attrition against the Narragansetts. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, "‘God, War, and Providence’ Review: When Conquest Was Puritanical," 13 June 2018 In 1521, Martin Luther was branded a heretic and had his writings banned because of his religious beliefs., "This day in history," 25 May 2018 Although a motive for the shooting has yet to be declared, Mr. Iqbal is a staunch supporter of Pakistan’s religious minorities, often considered heretics by the country’s radicalized offshoots of Sunni Islam. Meher Ahmad And Maria Abi-habib, New York Times, "Pakistan Interior Minister, Champion of Minorities, Is Shot," 6 May 2018 This proves impossible for much of Carlton's congregation to swallow, and before long many of them are leaving the church and/or decrying him as a heretic. Justin Chang,, "Chiwetel Ejiofor brings a preacher's doubts to life in the stirring 'Come Sunday'," 12 Apr. 2018 Feel free to dismiss Santos — a Trinity University economics professor who grew up in Portugal — as a heretic. Roy Bragg, San Antonio Express-News, "Find out who the 2018 World Cup winner will be — today!," 22 May 2018 Of those, 730 were Muslims, 501 were Ahmedis — a sect that is reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics — while 205 were Christians and 26 were Hindus. Fox News, "Pakistan under pressure to rein in blasphemy law," 9 Mar. 2018 Director Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 film focuses largely on the trial of French heroine Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake in 1431 after being tried as a heretic. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Plan your weekend: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Tracy Morgan, Downriver craft fair," 21 Mar. 2018 The church condemned Abelard as a heretic, effectively silencing his campaign to change church attitudes about the Jews. April Austin, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Cloister' probes deeply into matters of faith, dogma, complicity, and forgiveness," 16 Mar. 2018

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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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 \

Kids Definition of heretic

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

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Comments on heretic

What made you want to look up heretic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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