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First attested 1460, from Middle French infidèle, from Latin īnfidēlis (unfaithful), from in- (not) + fidēlis (faithful). See fidelity.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɪn.fə.dl̩/, /ˈɪn.fə.ˌdɛl/
    • (file)


infidel (comparative more infidel, superlative most infidel)

  1. Rejecting a specific religion.
  2. Of, characteristic of, or relating to unbelievers or unbelief.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 7, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC:
      (...) how it is that to his name who yesterday departed for the other world, we prefix so significant and infidel a word, and yet do not thus entitle him, if he but embarks for the remotest Indies of this living earth;(...)
    • 1881, Ernestine Rose, A Defence of Atheism, J.P. Mendum, page 20:
      But not only have the priests tried to make the very term Atheism odious, as if it would destroy all of good and beautiful in nature, but some of the reformers, not having the moral courage to avow their own sentiments, wishing to be popular, fearing lest their reforms would be considered Infidel, (as all reforms assuredly are), shield themselves from the stigma, by joining in the tirade against Atheism, and associate it with everything that is vile, with the crime of slavery, the corrup­tions of the Church, and all the vices imaginable.


infidel (plural infidels)

  1. (now usually derogatory) One who does not believe in a certain religion.
    • 1779, Vicesimus Knox, On the Prevalence of Religious Scepticism:
      The infidel writer is a greater enemy to society.
    • 2005, George W. Braswell, Islam and America: Answers to the 31 Most-asked Questions, page 33:
      Some Muslims are taught that non-Muslims are infidels and are to be shunned.
  2. (now usually derogatory) One who does not believe in a certain principle.
  3. (now usually derogatory) One with no religious beliefs.


Related terms[edit]





Borrowed from Latin īnfidēlis (unfaithful).


infidel m or f (masculine and feminine plural infidels)

  1. unfaithful
    Antonym: fidel

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


infidel m or f by sense (plural infidels)

  1. infidel

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from French infidèle, from Latin infidelis. Equivalent to in- +‎ fidel.


infidel m or n (feminine singular infidelă, masculine plural infideli, feminine and neuter plural infidele)

  1. unfaithful