Heresy Her"e*sy, n.; pl. {Heresies}. [OE. heresie, eresie, OF. heresie, iresie, F. h['e]r['e]sie, L. haeresis, Gr. ? a taking, a taking for one's self, choosing, a choice, a sect, a heresy, fr. ? to take, choose.] [1913 Webster] 1. An opinion held in opposition to the established or commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote a division or party, as in politics, literature, philosophy, etc.; -- usually, but not necessarily, said in reproach. [1913 Webster]

New opinions Divers and dangerous, which are heresies, And, not reformed, may prove pernicious. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

After the study of philosophy began in Greece, and the philosophers, disagreeing amongst themselves, had started many questions . . . because every man took what opinion he pleased, each several opinion was called a heresy; which signified no more than a private opinion, without reference to truth or falsehood. --Hobbes. [1913 Webster]

2. (Theol.) Religious opinion opposed to the authorized doctrinal standards of any particular church, especially when tending to promote schism or separation; lack of orthodox or sound belief; rejection of, or erroneous belief in regard to, some fundamental religious doctrine or truth; heterodoxy. [1913 Webster]

Doubts 'mongst divines, and difference of texts, From whence arise diversity of sects, And hateful heresies by God abhor'd. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

Deluded people! that do not consider that the greatest heresy in the world is a wicked life. --Tillotson. [1913 Webster]

3. (Law) An offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some essential doctrine, which denial is publicly avowed, and obstinately maintained. [1913 Webster]

A second offense is that of heresy, which consists not in a total denial of Christianity, but of some its essential doctrines, publicly and obstinately avowed. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster]

Note: ``When I call dueling, and similar aberrations of honor, a moral heresy, I refer to the force of the Greek ?, as signifying a principle or opinion taken up by the will for the will's sake, as a proof or pledge to itself of its own power of self-determination, independent of all other motives.'' --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • heresy — an opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church [Johnson], c.1200, from O.Fr. heresie (12c.), from L. hæresis, school of thought, philosophical sect, used by Christian writers for unorthodox sect or doctrine,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • heresy — [n] unorthodox opinion, especially in religious matters agnosticism, apostasy, atheism, blasphemy, defection, disbelief, dissent, dissidence, divergence, error, fallacy, heterodoxy, iconoclasm, impiety, infidelity, misbelief, nonconformism,… …   New thesaurus

  • heresy — ► NOUN (pl. heresies) 1) belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine. 2) opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted. ORIGIN Greek hairesis choice, sect …   English terms dictionary

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  • heresy — /her euh see/, n., pl. heresies. 1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, esp. of a church or religious system. 2. the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine. 3. Rom. Cath. Ch. the willful and persistent… …   Universalium

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