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

From an environmental perspective, the original sin of the Clean Air Act (at least the 1970 and 1990 amendments to the CAA) was grandfathering. David Roberts, Vox, "The 6 things you most need to know about Trump’s new climate plan," 24 Aug. 2018 To borrow Cheryl’s words, the Blossom family committed Riverdale’s original sin: the genocide of an indigenous people in order to steal and profit from their land. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "The Best "Riverdale" Season 3 Fan Theories, According to Reddit," 1 Oct. 2018 Both the university and the public thought was his original sin. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Chris Webber ready to return to Michigan, despite wounds still not healed," 29 June 2018 Charleston, South Carolina has formally apologized for its role in America's original sin: slavery. Paula Rogo, Essence.com, "Charleston, South Carolina Formally Apologizes For Its Role in Slavery," 21 June 2018 Christian belief in the resurrection is associated with the idea of Limbo: a place for those who are stained with original sin, and thus cannot go to heaven, but who are otherwise deserving and shouldn’t be consigned to hell. John Hooper, WSJ, "How a $30 Million Renaissance Masterpiece Was Found," 21 May 2018 But that was because of his original sin, which was the July press conference, usurping power. Fox News, "Sen. Toomey on move to curb Trump's trade authority," 10 June 2018 Would a second ring and a second Finals MVP be enough to forgive his original sin of joining the Warriors? Ben Golliver, SI.com, "You Don’t Have to Forgive Kevin Durant, but You Do Have to Appreciate Him," 15 May 2018 Instead, the rest of the biennial springs from the ground turned up by these artists, who together draw a picture of America’s original sin. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "Old and new meet at Portland Museum of Art Biennial," 19 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of original sin

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about original sin

Share original sin

Statistics for original sin

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for original sin

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with original sin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about original sin

Comments on original sin

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!