he·ret·i·cal | \hə-ˈre-ti-kəl \
variants: or less commonly heretic \ˈher-ə-ˌtik, ˈhe-rə- \

Definition of heretical 

1 : of or relating to adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma : characterized by heresy heretical writings

2 : of, relating to, or characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards : unorthodox It would be heretical to suggest changing company policy.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from heretical

heretically \hə-ˈre-ti-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

Examples of heretical in a Sentence

the belief that women should be allowed to have careers outside the home was once considered heretical

Recent Examples on the Web

And, since a lot of people have an even more passionate affair with Frisch's Coke with a shot of vanilla or cherry, the exact recipe is paramount, including the soft but crunchy ice, which no one has yet been heretical enough to change. Polly Campbell,, "Polly Campbell: Coke back at Frisch's. Here's what it means," 18 June 2018 New York Times columnist David Brooks used to be a Republican — a somewhat heretical Republican on occasion, but a GOPer nonetheless — back in the days when his perch was the Weekly Standard. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "David Brooks Wants to Bring Back the Whigs," 16 May 2018 He, and many other Southern Baptists believed (and still believe) that the ordination of women is a functionally heretical act on the part of that church. Hännah Ettinger, Houston Chronicle, "Ending an abusive marriage is hard. Ending one in the evangelical church is harder.," 12 May 2018 Years after Pearson’s heretical vision, how does the American church reckon with those tangible evils? Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "A Christian Awakening?," 24 Apr. 2018 That possibility, which critics have called heretical and schismatic, has been a rallying cry for a small but committed group of traditionalists. Jason Horowitz,, "Pope puts caring for migrants and opposing abortion on equal footing," 9 Apr. 2018 The long struggle between the Assads and the extremists who denounce the Assads’ Alawite sect as heretical and who claim to represent the majority Sunni population of Syria is described briefly but with balance and restraint. Christopher Dickey, New York Times, "War Without End," 6 Apr. 2018 One of those heretical texts, The Gospel of Mary, portrays her as possessing deeper insight than the Apostle Peter. John Blake, CNN, "How Easter became a #MeToo moment," 30 Mar. 2018 By the fourth century, Gnostic texts depicting her spiritual leadership were deemed heretical and excluded from the New Testament canon, says Sahlin. John Blake, CNN, "How Easter became a #MeToo moment," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heretical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of heretical

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heretical

Middle English heretikel, borrowed from Medieval Latin haereticālis, from Late Latin haereticus heretic + Latin -ālis -al entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about heretical

Statistics for heretical

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for heretical

The first known use of heretical was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on heretical

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!