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[hey-nuh s] /ˈheɪ nəs/
hateful; odious; abominable; totally reprehensible:
a heinous offense.
Origin of heinous
1325-75; Middle English heynous < Middle French haineus, equivalent to haine hatred (derivative of haïr to hate < Germanic) + -eus -ous
Related forms
heinously, adverb
heinousness, noun
nonheinous, adjective
nonheinously, adverb
nonheinousness, noun
wicked, infamous, flagrant, flagitious, atrocious, villainous, nefarious.
admirable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for heinous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Can a little coquetry in a good cause be such a heinous offence?

  • This is the twenty-seventh time we've had you up for this heinous, fearsome crime.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • It was not a heinous sin, nor would it affect his moral character.

    A Final Reckoning G. A. Henty
  • It was an error of artistry that he had committed; a heinous crime!

    The Yellow Claw Sax Rohmer
  • I call Thee to witness, my God, that I have considered how heinous has been my sin.

    Thais Anatole France
British Dictionary definitions for heinous


/ˈheɪnəs; ˈhiː-/
evil; atrocious
Derived Forms
heinously, adverb
heinousness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French haineus, from haine hatred, from hair to hate, of Germanic origin; see hate
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 heinous

late 14c., from Old French hainos "inconvenient, awkward; hateful, unpleasant; odious" (Modern French haineux), from haine "hatred," from hair "to hate," from Frankish *hatjan (cf. Old Saxon haton, Old English hatian "to hate;" see hate (v.)). Related: Heinously; heinousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for heinous



Bad; crappy, gross, lame (1980s+ Students)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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