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See also: herètic


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English heretyk, heretike, from Old French eretique, from Medieval Latin or Ecclesiastical Latin haereticus, from Ancient Greek αἱρετικός (hairetikós, able to choose, factious), itself from Ancient Greek αἱρέω (hairéō, I choose).


  • (noun): (US) IPA(key): /ˈhɛɹɪtɪk/
  • (file)


heretic (plural heretics)

  1. Someone who believes contrary to the fundamental tenets of a religion they claim to belong to.
    • c. 1503–1512, John Skelton, Ware the Hauke; republished in John Scattergood, editor, John Skelton: The Complete English Poems, 1983, →OCLC, page 62, lines 17–19:
      He semeth a sysmatyke
      Or els an heretike,
      For fayth in hym is faynte.
    • 1974, Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., chapter 11, in The Myth of Mental Illness[1], →ISBN, page 197:
      In the framework of traditional medical ethics, the patient
      deserves humane attention only insofar as he is potentially
      healthy and is willing to be healthy—just as in the framework
      of traditional Christian ethics, the heretic deserved humane
      attention only insofar as he was potentially a true believer and
      was willing to become one. In the one case, people are
      accepted as human beings only because they might be healthy
      citizens; in the other, only because they might be faithful
      Christians. In short, neither was heresy formerly, nor is sick-
      ness now, given the kind of humane recognition which, from
      the point of view of an ethic of respect and tolerance, they
  2. Someone who does not conform to generally accepted beliefs or practices



Derived terms[edit]



heretic (comparative more heretic, superlative most heretic)

  1. (archaic) Heretical; of or pertaining to heresy or heretics.
    Antonym: orthodox


Related terms[edit]




See heresy.


heretic (plural heretics)

  1. heretic
  2. (literary style) A poet who claims to have no religion, or to disdain one.
    He's as puir as the heretic baird.(please add an English translation of this usage example)