Definition of Heresy

1. Noun. Any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox position.

Exact synonyms: Heterodoxy, Unorthodoxy
Specialized synonyms: Iconoclasm, Nonconformance, Nonconformism, Nonconformity
Generic synonyms: Orientation
Derivative terms: Heretical
Antonyms: Orthodoxy

2. Noun. A belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion.

Definition of Heresy

1. n. 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.

Definition of Heresy

1. Noun. (context: religion) A doctrine held by a member of a religion at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from Roman Catholic dogma. ¹

2. Noun. A controversial or unorthodox opinion held by a member of a group, as in politics, philosophy or science. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Heresy

1. a belief contrary to a church doctrine [n -SIES]

Medical Definition of Heresy

1. Origin: OE. Heresie, eresie, OF. Heresie, iresie, F. Heresie, L. Haeresis, Gr. A taking, a taking for one's self, choosing, a choice, a sect, a heresy, fr. To take, choose. 1. 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. "New opinions Divers and dangerous, which are heresies, And, not reformed, may prove pernicious." (Shak) "After the study of philosophy began in Greece, and the philosophers, disagreeing amongst themselves, had started many questions . . . Because every man took what opinion he pleased, each several opinion was called a heresy; which signified no more than a private opinion, without reference to truth or falsehood." (Hobbes) 2. Religious opinion opposed to the authorised 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. "Doubts 'mongst divines, and difference of texts, From whence arise diversity of sects, And hateful heresies by God abhor'd." (Spenser) "Deluded people! that do not consider that the greatest heresy in the world is a wicked life." (Tillotson) 3. An offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some essential doctrine, which denial is publicly avowed, and obstinately maintained. "A second offense is that of heresy, which consists not in a total denial of Christianity, but of some its essential doctrines, publicly and obstinately avowed." (Blackstone) "When I call dueling, and similar aberrations of honor, a moral heresy, I refer to the force of the Greek, as signifying a principle or opinion taken up by the will for the will's sake, as a proof or pledge to itself of its own power of self-determination, independent of all other motives." Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Heresy

heresy (current term)

Literary usage of Heresy

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the by Charles George Herbermann, Edward Aloysius Pace, Condé Bénoist Pallen, Thomas Joseph Shahan, John Joseph Wynne (1913)
"GRAVITY OF THE SIN OF heresy.—heresy is a sin because of its nature it is ... It cannot be pleaded in attenuation of the guilt of heresy that heretics do ..."

2. A History of the Inquisition of Spain by Henry Charles Lea (1906)
"Formal or mixed heresy is voluntary and pertinacious error, pertinacity being adherence to what is known to be contrary to the teachings of the Church. ..."

3. A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages by Henry Charles Lea (1887)
"The nations thus habituated to the most savage cruelty, moreover, regarded the propagation of heresy with peculiar detestation, as not merely a sin, ..."

4. The Cambridge Modern History by Adolphus William Ward, George Walter Prothero (1907)
"In other words, if opinion is established by law, heresy is turned into crime. ... Infallibility is not the only system that makes heresy culpable and the ..."

5. A History of English Law by William Searle Holdsworth, John Burke (1903)
"Of such offences the most important is heresy. It was regarded as a species of high treason against the church. " A man who did not begin by admitting the ..."

6. The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I by Frederick Pollock, Frederic William Maitland (1899)
"Such are the principal cases of heresy that we find before English the days of the Lollards. If now we ask what law about heresy was in force in England ..."

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