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 According to one medieval legend, Nicholas punched a heretic in the nose at the Council of Nicea -- the meeting in 325 that formed the first consensus on Christian doctrine. Daniel Burke, CNN, "St. Nicholas: The story behind Santa Claus," 6 Dec. 2019 Jason Momoa stars as a burly tribal leader (hardly new ground for him) in a post-apocalyptic Earth where a virus has rendered the surviving human population blind, except for a select few who are reviled as heretics. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Apple TV+ series reviewed, from 'Morning Show' to 'See'," 1 Nov. 2019 In the south of France there was a long crusade in the thirteenth century against heretics known as Cathars (the ‘Albigensian crusade’). Dan Jones, Time, "What the Far Right Gets Wrong About the Crusades," 10 Oct. 2019 Although the Yazidis are a monotheistic faith, IS viewed them as heretics and sought to annihilate both the people and their religious sites. Washington Post, "Iraq’s Yazidi women must abandon kids born in IS captivity," 4 Aug. 2019 Iran is dominated by Shiite Muslims, whom the hard-line Sunnis of al-Qaida see as heretics. Adam Goldman,, "US officials say Osama bin Laden’s son killed in strike," 1 Aug. 2019 Locke’s detractors fail to acknowledge the machinations of the Catholic Church, in England and elsewhere, in which the Holy See acted to destabilize political authorities or condemn them as heretics and see them toppled. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "The Need for a Revival of Lockean Liberalism," 11 Sep. 2019 Those few who dared call him out on the spending and the corruption and the deals were dismissed as self-promoters, or treated as heretics, as if Chicago were Salem in the late winter of 1693, and naysayers had denied the existence of witches. John Kass,, "Column: Mayor Lightfoot has patience, but soon, she’ll have to be bold," 30 Aug. 2019 Grace Road Church has been denounced as a heretic organization by most mainstream Christian groups in South Korea. Fox News, "Doomsday cult leader who held 400 captive, beat them to 'drive out evil spirits,' gets 6-year sentence," 31 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for heretic

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

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Last Updated

22 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Heretic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for heretic


How to pronounce heretic (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on heretic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heretic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heretic

Spanish Central: Translation of heretic

Nglish: Translation of heretic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heretic for Arabic Speakers

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