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From Late Latin anathema ‎(curse, person cursed, offering), from Ancient Greek ἀνάθεμα ‎(anáthema, something dedicated, especially dedicated to evil), from ἀνατίθημι ‎(anatíthēmi, I set upon, offer as a votive gift), from ἀνά ‎(aná, upon) + τίθημι ‎(títhēmi, I put, place). The Ancient Greek term was influenced by Hebrew חרם ‎(herem), leading to the sense of "accursed," especially in Ecclesiastical writers.


  • IPA(key): /əˈnæθəmə/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: a‧na‧the‧ma


anathema ‎(plural anathemas or anathemata)

  1. A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, often accompanied by excommunication; something denounced as accursed.
  2. By extension, something which is vehemently disliked by somebody.
    • 2015 January 18, Monty Munford, “What’s the point of carrying a mobile phone nowadays?”, in The Daily Telegraph[1]:
      Even three years ago, the thought of spending two hours, let alone a whole day, without my mobile would have been anathema.
  3. An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.
    • 2002, Joseph O'Conner, Star of the Sea, Vintage 2003, p. 30:
      That was a curse from which no flight was possible: the anathema of a man who had once known holiness.
  4. Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority.
    • John Locke
      The Jewish nation were an anathema destined to destruction.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


New Advent: The Catholic on-line encyclopedia.



From Ancient Greek ἀνάθεμα ‎(anáthema, something dedicated, especially dedicated to evil).



anathema n ‎(genitive anathematis); third declension

  1. offering (especially the life of a person)
  2. curse
  3. excommunication


Third declension neuter.

Case Singular Plural
nominative anathema anathemata
genitive anathematis anathematum
dative anathematī anathematibus
accusative anathema anathemata
ablative anathemate anathematibus
vocative anathema anathemata