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 formshei·nous·ly, adverbhei·nous·ness, nounnon·hei·nous, adjectivenon·hei·nous·ly, adverbnon·hei·nous·ness, noun

Synonyms for heinous

Antonyms for heinous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heinous

Contemporary Examples of heinous

Historical Examples of heinous

  • 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.

  • 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.


    Anatole France

British Dictionary definitions for heinous



evil; atrocious
Derived Formsheinously, adverbheinousness, noun

Word Origin for heinous

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

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