he·​ret·​i·​cal | \ hə-ˈre-ti-kəl How to pronounce heretical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly heretic \ ˈher-​ə-​ˌtik How to pronounce heretical (audio) , 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 How to pronounce heretical (audio) \ 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 Present-day Pakistan officially regards Ahmadis as heretical. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 13 Apr. 2021 Does that feel heretical (especially from someone writing for a newspaper’s magazine), this idea that there’s no particular goodness attached to following the news?, 24 Mar. 2021 So the disdain DeTrinis — a native New Yorker, no less! — professes for the Big Apple and all who yearn to live there has a transgressive, heretical audacity. Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2020 Ryan knows as well as anyone why that is borderline heretical for coaches to believe. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 22 Dec. 2020 In the British scientist’s own day, church leaders would have viewed many of his ideas on these subjects as heretical. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Dec. 2020 Early in Season One, Mando would've rendered immediate justice on such a heretical act. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 30 Oct. 2020 The failure of the white working class to manifest revolutionary consciousness led some heretical Marxists to start looking beyond class for an explanation. Hari Kunzru, The New York Review of Books, 8 Sep. 2020 The blunter dialog, meanwhile, is more common among heretical, phonetical Americans. Jason Kehe, Wired, 8 July 2020

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

Time Traveler for heretical

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for heretical

Cite this Entry

“Heretical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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