[in-fi-dl, -del]



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

Related Words for infidel

agnostic, unbeliever, heretic, atheist, heathen, pagan, gentile

Examples from the Web for infidel

Contemporary Examples of infidel

Historical Examples of infidel

  • 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



a person who has no religious belief; unbeliever


rejecting a specific religion, esp Christianity or Islam
of, characteristic of, or relating to unbelievers or unbelief

Word Origin for infidel

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper