Definition of heresy in US English:


nounPlural heresies

  • 1Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.

    ‘Huss was burned for heresy’
    ‘the doctrine was denounced as a heresy by the Pope’
    • ‘The trials of Jesus echoed the criminal procedures of English heresy trials.’
    • ‘It is also true, as Colin Gunton makes clear in his essay, that Arianism is a perennial Christian heresy.’
    • ‘Sutcliffe makes no suggestion identifying New Age phenomena with Gnosticism, one of the classic heresies of the Christian church.’
    • ‘Christological heresies result when one story cancels the other.’
    • ‘Suppression of the movement in Bulgaria intensified after a 1211 synod condemned the heresy.’
    • ‘Galileo was charged with heresy by the Christian church for having the temerity to suggest that the earth went round the sun.’
    • ‘The existence of actual witchcraft required the taint of Christian heresy.’
    • ‘Arguably, the avoidance of passive secularism led to my own eventual entanglement and heresy trials.’
    • ‘That rejection soon led to the Monophysite heresy, which lives on to this day in the Coptic and Ethiopian churches.’
    • ‘In March 1638, after a heresy trial, the clergy excommunicated her.’
    • ‘There is neither harsh injustice nor unprincipled love nor Christological heresy in that; there is only unfathomable mercy.’
    • ‘We believe that Christian Zionism is a Christian heresy - it is really misinterpreting the Bible.’
    • ‘Once you were baptized into the Church, you were a Christian forever, unless you commit heresy.’
    • ‘The Church must be watchful lest false teachers worm their way into the fellowship and spread damnable heresies.’
    • ‘The film comes close to reviving the old Monophysite heresy - as if Jesus is totally divine in nature.’
    • ‘The creeds address incorrect beliefs or heresies of the times in which they were created.’
    • ‘Most religious cults do teach what the Christian church would declare to be heresy but some do not.’
    • ‘Augustine spent more than thirty years combating heresy, writing commentaries and interpretations of Christian theology.’
    • ‘To our historicist age, Hildegard's Christian Platonism may seem the ultimate heresy.’
    • ‘The church was split by heresies concerning the person of Christ, while Mariolatry was practised to such an extent that even today many Muslims think the Christian Trinity comprises Father, Son and Mary.’
    dissension, dissent, dissidence, blasphemy, nonconformity, unorthodoxy, heterodoxy, apostasy, freethinking, schism, faction
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted.
      ‘cutting capital gains taxes is heresy’
      ‘the politician's heresies became the conventional wisdom of the day’
      • ‘The hounding out of heresy, whether religious or political, is always a symptom of instability in the state.’
      • ‘In 2000 it was considered economic heresy to contemplate a breach of the stability pact.’
      • ‘Indeed, they are so against the conventional wisdom that they might be termed heresy.’
      • ‘Hacking out at the Old Course is the ultimate heresy.’
      • ‘To say, in our culture, that I have a good rhythm and balance in my life with work and activities is almost heresy.’
      • ‘But why does it have to be political heresy to go the whole hog?’
      • ‘Even if this isn't heresy, it's bad news for women's claims for equality.’
      • ‘Some of you have noticed that I've just committed heresy and contradicted doctrine.’
      • ‘That we can still think of wringing out a song from all this is worse than heresy, blasphemy, sacrilege.’
      • ‘To say that the value of gold was an exception would be considered heresy by him.’
      • ‘I know that's heresy, but there is a treacly quality to so much of the talk about King and his dream that it is like an overdose of candy.’


Middle English: from Old French heresie, based on Latin haeresis, from Greek hairesis ‘choice’ (in ecclesiastical Greek ‘heretical sect’), from haireomai ‘choose’.