[noun her-i-tik; adjective her-i-tik, huh-ret-ik]
See more synonyms for heretic on
  1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.
  2. Roman Catholic Church. a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.
  3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.
  1. heretical.

Origin of heretic

1300–50; Middle English heretik < Middle French heretique < Late Latin haereticus < Greek hairetikós able to choose (Late Greek: heretical), equivalent to hairet(ós) that may be taken (verbal adjective of haireîn to choose) + -ikos -ic
Related formssem·i·her·e·tic, adjective, noun

Synonyms for heretic

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for heretic

skeptic, apostate, pagan, sectarian, cynic

Examples from the Web for heretic

Contemporary Examples of heretic

Historical Examples of heretic

  • And first, Mr. Blindman, the foreman, said: I see clearly that this man is a heretic.


    James Anthony Froude

  • Doctors of divinity said, "He is a heretic; he contradicts the Bible."

  • People of the only true faith cannot bear to be governed by a heretic nation.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • So long as a heretic power is at the head, so long Ireland will be discontented.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • Heretic he may be, but he has the trust of Ramon Rotil, and of me.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

British Dictionary definitions for heretic


  1. mainly RC Church a person who maintains beliefs contrary to the established teachings of the Church
  2. a person who holds unorthodox opinions in any field
Derived Formsheretical (hɪˈrɛtɪkəl), adjectiveheretically, adverb
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 heretic

mid-14c., from Old French eretique (14c., Modern French hérétique), from Church Latin haereticus, from Greek hairetikos "able to choose," the verbal adjective of hairein (see heresy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

heretic in Culture


One who challenges the doctrines of an established church (see also established church). Martin Luther was proclaimed a heretic for rejecting many of the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.