heresy

noun

her·​e·​sy ˈher-ə-sē How to pronounce heresy (audio)
ˈhe-rə-
plural heresies
1
a
: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma (see dogma sense 2)
They were accused of heresy.
b
: denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c
: an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2
a
: dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
To disagree with the party leadership was heresy.
b
: an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards
our democratic heresy which holds that … truth is to be found by majority voteM. W. Straight

Examples of heresy in a Sentence

They were accused of heresy. He was preaching dangerous heresies.
Recent Examples on the Web And among communists, charges of theoretical heresy were explosive. Joseph Torigian, Foreign Affairs, 24 June 2024 Shakespeare is thought to have drawn satirical inspiration for the character from Sir John Oldcastle, a powerful nobleman and soldier who was convicted of heresy. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 18 June 2024 Sure, the evil order has been extinct for a millennium, according to the Phantom Menace, but rather than take that as gospel — and The Acolyte as heresy — consider this a nice complication to the prevailing narrative. Jackson McHenry, Vulture, 6 June 2024 Such heresies triggered a nervous breakdown from which the U.S. foreign policy establishment has yet to fully recover. Andrew J. Bacevich, Foreign Affairs, 28 Feb. 2023 See all Example Sentences for heresy 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heresy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English heresie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed (with assimilation to the suffix -ie -y entry 2) from Late Latin haeresis, heresis "school (of philosophy or theology), sect, belief contrary to church dogma," borrowed from Greek haíresis "act of taking, choice, course of action or thought, system of principles, sect, faction," from haireîn "to take, grasp, (middle voice) obtain, choose, prefer" (of obscure origin) + -sis -sis

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of heresy was in the 13th century

Cite this Entry

“Heresy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heresy. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

heresy

noun
her·​e·​sy ˈher-ə-sē How to pronounce heresy (audio)
plural heresies
1
: religious opinion that is opposed to the doctrines of a church
2
: opinion that is opposed to a generally accepted belief

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