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anathema

[uh-nath-uh-muh] /əˈnæθ ə mə/
noun, plural anathemas.
1.
a person or thing detested or loathed:
That subject is anathema to him.
2.
a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.
3.
a formal ecclesiastical curse involving excommunication.
4.
any imprecation of divine punishment.
5.
a curse; execration.
Origin of anathema
1520-1530
1520-30; < Latin < Greek: a thing accursed, devoted to evil, orig. devoted, equivalent to ana(ti)thé(nai) to set up + -ma noun suffix
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British Dictionary definitions for anathema

anathema

/əˈnæθəmə/
noun (pl) -mas
1.
a detested person or thing: he is anathema to me
2.
a formal ecclesiastical curse of excommunication or a formal denunciation of a doctrine
3.
the person or thing so cursed
4.
a strong curse; imprecation
Word Origin
C16: via Church Latin from Greek: something accursed, dedicated (to evil), from anatithenai to dedicate, from ana- + tithenai to set
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anathema
n.

1520s, "an accursed thing," from Latin anathema "an excommunicated person; the curse of excommunication," from Greek anathema "a thing accursed," originally "a thing devoted," literally "a thing set up (to the gods)," from ana- "up" (see ana-) + tithenai "to place," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious).

Originally simply a votive offering, by the time it reached Latin the meaning had progressed through "thing devoted to evil," to "thing accursed or damned." Later applied to persons and the Divine Curse. Meaning "formal act or formula of consigning to damnation" is from 1610s.

Anathema maranatha, taken as an intensified form, is a misreading of the Syriac maran etha "the Lord hath come," which follows anathema in I Cor. xvi:22, but is not connected with it (see Maranatha).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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