: hatefully or shockingly evil : abominable
Did You Know?
Humans have contrasted love with hate and good with evil for eons, putting love and good on one side and hate and evil on the other. The etymology of heinous reflects the association of hate with that which is evil or horrible. During the 14th century, English borrowed heinous from the Anglo-French haine (meaning "hate"), a noun derived from hair ("to hate"), a verb of Germanic origin that is related, like the English word hate, to the Old High German haz ("hate"). Over time English speakers came to use the word to reflect the sense of horror evoked by intense hatred.
The former dictator will stand trial for the role he played in his government's heinous treatment of political dissidents.
"As with garden-variety bullies and toughs, the unearned self-regard of tyrants is eternally vulnerable to being popped, so any opposition to their rule is treated not as a criticism but as a heinous crime." — Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature,2011
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