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From Middle English iniquite, from Old French iniquité, from Latin iniquitas, from iniquus (unjust, harmful), from in- + aequus (equal). Compare inequity.



iniquity (countable and uncountable, plural iniquities)

  1. Deviation from what is right; wickedness, gross injustice.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, Othello, Act IV, sc. 1:
      If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent
      to offend, for if it touch not you, it comes near
    • 1611, King James Version, Job 15:15–16:
      Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
    • 1994, Jules, Pulp Fiction,
      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    • 2014 October 21, Oliver Brown, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities: Bladerunner's punishment for killing Reeva Steenkamp is but a frippery when set against the burden that her bereft parents, June and Barry, must carry [print version: No room for sentimentality in this tragedy, 13 September 2014, p. S22]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      But ever since the concept of "hamartia" recurred through Aristotle's Poetics, in an attempt to describe man's ingrained iniquity, our impulse has been to identify a telling defect in those brought suddenly and dramatically low.
  2. An unfair act or unconscionable deed.
  3. Hostility, malevolence, lawlessness.
  4. Denial of the sovereignty of God.

(Can we add an example for this sense?)