Borrowed from Late Latin anathema (“curse, person cursed, offering”), itself a borrowing from Ancient Greek ἀνάθεμα (anáthema, “something dedicated, especially dedicated to eternal damnation”), 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.
- (ecclesiastical, historical) A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, often accompanied by excommunication; something denounced as accursed. [from early 17th c.]
- (by extension) Something which is vehemently disliked by somebody.
- Synonym: bête noire
- (literary) An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.
- 1920, Edward Arlington Robinson, “The Wandering Jew”, in The Three Taverns:
- I trembled at his ringing wealth
Of manifold anathemas […]
- 2002, Joseph O'Conner, Star of the Sea, Vintage, published 2003, page 30:
- That was a curse from which no flight was possible: the anathema of a man who had once known holiness.
- (ecclesiastical) Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority to unending punishment. [from 1520s]
- 1707, John Locke, “The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans”, in An Essay for Understanding St. Paul's Epistles, by Consulting St. Paul Himself, Section VIII:
- Ἆνάθεμα, accurẛed, חרם, which the Septuagint renders Anathema, ẛignifies Perẛons or Things devoted to Deẛtruction and Extermination. The Jewiẛh Nation were now an Anathema, deẛtin'd to Deẛtruction. St. Paul to expreẛs his Affection to them, ẛays, he could wiẛh to ẛave them from it, to become an Anathema and be deẛtroy'd himẛelf.
- 1885, “The Anathemas of Cyril in Opposition to Nestorius”, in Philip Schaff, editor, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (II), volume III:
- If any one refuses to confess that the Word of God the Father is united in hypostasis to flesh, and is one Christ with His own flesh, the same being at once both God and man, let him be anathema.
New Advent: The Catholic on-line encyclopedia.
- (Classical) IPA(key): /aˈna.tʰe.ma/, [äˈnät̪ʰɛmä]
- (modern Italianate Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /aˈna.te.ma/, [äˈnäːt̪emä]
Third-declension noun (neuter, imparisyllabic non-i-stem).