original sin


Definition of original sin

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

Examples of original sin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To the people of the region, those neocolonial dictates have acquired a mythic status as a kind of original sin. Robert F. Worth, The New York Review of Books, "Syria’s Lost Chance," 22 Sep. 2020 Sforno argues that the confession is not directly linked to the tithe process, but rather with the original sin of the golden calf. Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, "Law of viduy: Confessing for the good," 31 Aug. 2020 For three months now, ever since a white police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck and squeezed the life out of him, America has been reckoning with our most original sin. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Milwaukee Bucks' decision not to play NBA playoff game will alter the course of history," 26 Aug. 2020 The book is conservative in its anti-libertarian, anti-utopian, and anti-collectivist tone, and in its resolute insistence on the fact of original sin. John D. Hagen, National Review, "The Gospel of Jean-Jacques," 20 Aug. 2020 Apparently in his worldview, all whites are guilty of being racist simply by birth — like original sin. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Racism, Nazi imagery," 30 July 2020 Racial inequality has been with us since our original sin of slavery. Fox News, "Army veteran and congressional candidate: Proposal to make Juneteenth federal holiday 'a step in the right direction'," 20 June 2020 Indianapolis has been forced to confront the reality of our country’s original sin: government that was designed to privilege one race at the expense of all others. Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Star, "What prominent community members say should be done to make Indiana better for everyone," 17 June 2020 September 2019 was chosen as an imperfect but significant date to mark the start of American slavery and the systems of inequality perpetuated by the nation’s original sin. Gillian B. White, The Atlantic, "How Did We Get Here?," 16 June 2020

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.

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First Known Use of original sin

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Statistics for original sin

Last Updated

1 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Original sin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/original%20sin. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for original sin

original sin


English Language Learners Definition of original sin

: the belief taught in Christianity that people will naturally do bad or evil things

More from Merriam-Webster on original sin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about original sin

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