original sin

noun

1
: the state of sin that according to Christian theology characterizes all human beings as a result of Adam's fall
2
: a wrong of great magnitude
the original sin of slavery

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Others cited the Bible’s story of original sin and observed that Christianity had coexisted with slavery for 2,000 years. John Fabian Witt, Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2022 But the conservative view that will prevail in the admissions cases—and in the hiring cases to come—is that seeing race at all is the original sin. Zachary M. Seward, Quartz, 1 Nov. 2022 Genestoux has been hard at work trying to redeem this original sin with a service called Unlock. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2022 Dahomey’s role in the slave trade, trivializing the complications of that original sin. Armond White, National Review, 21 Sep. 2022 Freight has always bedeviled Illinois because of what might be called the original sin of Chicago railroading. John Lippert, Chicago Tribune, 18 Sep. 2022 Deinstitutionalization is widely viewed as the great original sin of our current mental-health crisis — not because the institutions were the right idea, but because it was assumed that medications could replace them. New York Times, 26 July 2022 Democrats have targeted Juul for some time, and its putative original sin was hooking young people on nicotine. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 7 July 2022 Unlike their mostly white counterparts, H.B.C.U.s still carry the burdens of the country’s original sin. New York Times, 11 June 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of original sin was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near original sin

Cite this Entry

“Original sin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/original%20sin. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

original sin

noun
1
: the state of sin that according to Christian teaching all people are born in as a result of Adam's sin in Eden
2
: a very great and significant wrong
the original sin of slavery

More from Merriam-Webster on original sin

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