What does heresy mean?

Definitions for heresy
ˈhɛr ə siher·esy

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word heresy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. unorthodoxy, heterodoxy, heresynoun

    any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox position

  2. heresy, unorthodoxynoun

    a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion


  1. heresynoun

    A doctrine held by a member of a religion at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from Roman Catholic dogma.

  2. heresynoun

    A controversial or unorthodox opinion held by a member of a group, as in politics, philosophy or science.

  3. Etymology: From heresie (modern hérésie), from haeresis, from αἵρεσις, from αἱρέομαι, the middle voice of αἱρέω.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Heresynoun

    An opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church.

    Etymology: heresie, French; hæresis, Latin; ἅιϱεσις.

    Heresy prevaileth only by a counterfeit shew of reason, whereby notwithstanding it becometh invincible, unless it be convicted of fraud by manifest remonstrance clearly true, and unable to be withstood. Richard Hooker, b. iii.

    As for speculative heresies, they work mightily upon mens wits; yet they do not produce any great alterations in states. Francis Bacon, Essay 59.

    Let the truth of that religion I profess be represented to her judgment, not in the odious disguises of levity, schism, heresy, novelty, cruelty, and disloyalty. Charles I .

Webster Dictionary

  1. Heresynoun

    an opinion held in opposition to the established or commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote a division or party, as in politics, literature, philosophy, etc.; -- usually, but not necessarily, said in reproach

  2. Heresynoun

    religious opinion opposed to the authorized doctrinal standards of any particular church, especially when tending to promote schism or separation; lack of orthodox or sound belief; rejection of, or erroneous belief in regard to, some fundamental religious doctrine or truth; heterodoxy

  3. Heresynoun

    an offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some essential doctrine, which denial is publicly avowed, and obstinately maintained

  4. Etymology: [OE. heresie, eresie, OF. heresie, iresie, F. hrsie, L. haeresis, Gr. a taking, a taking for one's self, choosing, a choice, a sect, a heresy, fr. to take, choose.]


  1. Heresy

    Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs. Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion. Heresy is usually used to discuss violations of religious or traditional laws or legal codes, although it is used by some political extremists to refer to their opponents. It carries the connotation of behaviors or beliefs likely to undermine accepted morality and cause tangible evils, damnation, or other punishment. In Abrahamic religions, it also implies that the heretic is in alliance with the religion's symbol of evil, such as Satan or chaos. In certain historical Christian, Jewish, and some modern cultures, espousing ideas deemed heretical was punishable by law.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Heresy

    her′e-si, n. the adoption and maintaining opinions contrary to the authorised teaching of the religious community to which one naturally belongs: an opinion adopted for one's self in opposition to the usual belief: heterodoxy.—ns. Heresiarch (her′e-si-ärk, or he-rē′zi-ärk), a leader in heresy, a chief among heretics; Heresiog′rapher, one who writes about heresies; Heresiog′raphy, a treatise on heresies; Heresiol′ogist, a student of, or writer on, heresies; Heresiol′ogy, the study or the history of heresies; Her′etic, the upholder of a heresy.—adj. Heret′ical.—adv. Heret′ically.—v.t. Heret′icate, to denounce as heretical. [O. Fr. heresie—L. hæresis—Gr. hairesishairein, to take.]

Suggested Resources

  1. heresy

    Song lyrics by heresy -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by heresy on the Lyrics.com website.

How to pronounce heresy?

How to say heresy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of heresy in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of heresy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of heresy in a Sentence

  1. Elie Wiesel:

    The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.

  2. Eric Hoffer:

    A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.

  3. John Milton:

    A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.

  4. Wieland:

    It is commonly a dangerous thing for a man to have more sense than his neighbours. Socrates paid for his superiority with his life; and if Aristotle saved his skin, accused as he was of heresy by the chief priest Eurymedon, it was because he took to his heels in time.

  5. Chaim Fishman:

    I was getting into trouble for asking questions, we don’t talk with anyone; we believe once we start talking to other people, we will assimilate to their ways and lose our traditions. It’s heresy.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for heresy

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for heresy »


Find a translation for the heresy definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these heresy definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "heresy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 3 Dec. 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/heresy>.

    Are we missing a good definition for heresy? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    the act of making a noisy disturbance
    • A. cleave
    • B. scarper
    • C. rumpus
    • D. summon

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for heresy: