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infidel

[in-fi-dl, -del]
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noun
  1. Religion.
    1. a person who does not accept a particular faith, especially Christianity.
    2. (in Christian use) an unbeliever, especially a Muslim.
    3. (in Muslim use) a person who does not accept the Islamic faith; kafir(def 2).
  2. a person who has no religious faith; unbeliever.
  3. (loosely) a person who disbelieves or doubts a particular theory, belief, creed, etc.; skeptic.
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adjective
  1. not accepting a particular faith, especially Christianity or Islam; heathen.
  2. without religious faith.
  3. due to or manifesting unbelief: infidel ideas.
  4. rejecting the Christian religion while accepting no other; not believing in the Bible or any Christian divine revelation.
  5. Also in·fi·del·ic [in-fi-del-ik] /ˌɪn fɪˈdɛl ɪk/. of, relating to, or characteristic of unbelievers or infidels.
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Origin of infidel

1425–75; late Middle English < Late Latin infidēlis “unbelieving,” Latin: “unfaithful, treacherous.” See in-3, feal

Synonym study

1–3. See agnostic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for infidel

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Already a Christian, could she hope for the success of the infidel?

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • His wife could not help the sudden thought, "But if we had had an infidel or agnostic son?"

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • Let them boast of their Moorish gallantry and their infidel marriages—a fig for them!

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • It represented the triumph of the Papacy over the infidel of all dates.

  • She must have been a bad one like her brother, who was an infidel, they say, and did not know or fear God.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani


British Dictionary definitions for infidel

infidel

noun
  1. a person who has no religious belief; unbeliever
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adjective
  1. rejecting a specific religion, esp Christianity or Islam
  2. of, characteristic of, or relating to unbelievers or unbelief
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Word Origin

C15: from Medieval Latin infidēlis, from Latin (adj): unfaithful, from in- 1 + fidēlis faithful; see feal
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 infidel

mid-15c. (adjective and noun), from Middle French infidèle, from Latin infidelis "unfaithful, not to be trusted," later "unbelieving," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + fidelis "faithful" (see fidelity). In 15c. "a non-Christian" (especially a Saracen); later "one who does not believe in religion" (1520s). Also used to translate Arabic qafir, which is from a root meaning "to disbelieve, to deny," strictly referring to all non-Muslims but virtually synonymous with "Christian;" hence, from a Muslim or Jewish point of view, "a Christian" (1530s; see kaffir).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper