transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.
any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.
any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense: It's a sin to waste time.

verb (used without object), sinned, sin·ning.

to commit a sinful act.
to offend against a principle, standard, etc.

verb (used with object), sinned, sin·ning.

to commit or perform sinfully: He sinned his crimes without compunction.
to bring, drive, etc., by sinning: He sinned his soul to perdition.

Origin of sin

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English syn(n) offense, misdeed; akin to German Sünde, Old Norse synd sin, Latin sōns guilty; (v.) derivative of the noun, replacing Middle English sin(i)gen, syn(i)gen, Old English syngian, itself derivative of the noun
Related formssin·like, adjectivesin·ning·ly, adverbsin·ning·ness, nounun·sin·ning, adjective

Synonyms for sin

Synonym study

1, 2. See crime.




the 22nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
the consonant sound represented by this letter.

Origin of sin

First recorded in 1895–1900, sin is from the Hebrew word śīn




the 12th letter of the Arabic alphabet.

Origin of sīn

From Arabic




the Akkadian god of the moon: the counterpart of the Sumerian Nanna.


Symbol, Trigonometry. arc sine. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sin

Contemporary Examples of sin

Historical Examples of sin

  • Or is there really no sin but in thought, and are our sleeping thoughts incapable of sin?


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • They were sick-and so were the purest of their brethren—with the plague of sin.

  • Do not let this great and disastrous fall sink you into lower depths of sin.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Sin brings its punishment, and it is hard work, bearing its burden!

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Never before had he seen his sin in the light in which it was now revealed by God's Word.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

British Dictionary definitions for sin




  1. transgression of God's known will or any principle or law regarded as embodying this
  2. the condition of estrangement from God arising from such transgressionSee also actual sin, mortal sin, original sin, venial sin
any serious offence, as against a religious or moral principle
any offence against a principle or standard
live in sin informal (of an unmarried couple) to live together

verb sins, sinning or sinned (intr)

theol to commit a sin
(usually foll by against) to commit an offence (against a person, principle, etc)
Derived Formssinner, noun

Word Origin for sin

Old English synn; related to Old Norse synth, Old High German suntea sin, Latin sons guilty



preposition, conjunction, adverb

a Scot dialect word for since




a variant of shin, the 21st letter in the Hebrew alphabet (שׂ), transliterated as SSee shin 2



abbreviation for




abbreviation for (in Canada)

social insurance number
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 sin

Old English synn "moral wrongdoing, injury, mischief, enmity, feud, guilt, crime, offense against God, misdeed," from Proto-Germanic *sun(d)jo- "sin" (cf. Old Saxon sundia, Old Frisian sende, Middle Dutch sonde, Dutch zonde, German Sünde "sin, transgression, trespass, offense," extended forms), probably ultimately "it is true," i.e. "the sin is real" (cf. Gothic sonjis, Old Norse sannr "true"), from PIE *snt-ya-, a collective form from *es-ont- "becoming," present participle of root *es- "to be" (see is).

The semantic development is via notion of "to be truly the one (who is guilty)," as in Old Norse phrase verð sannr at "be found guilty of," and the use of the phrase "it is being" in Hittite confessional formula. The same process probably yielded the Latin word sons (genitive sontis) "guilty, criminal" from present participle of sum, esse "to be, that which is." Some etymologists believe the Germanic word was an early borrowing directly from the Latin genitive. Cf. also sooth.

Sin-eater is attested from 1680s. To live in sin "cohabit without marriage" is from 1838; used earlier in a more general sense. Ice hockey slang sin bin "penalty box" is attested from 1950.


Old English syngian "to commit sin, transgress, err," from synn (see sin (n.)); the form influenced by the noun. Cf. Old Saxon sundion, Old Frisian sendigia, Middle Dutch sondighen, Dutch zondigen, Old High German sunteon, German sündigen "to sin." Form altered from Middle English sunigen by influence of the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sin in Science


Abbreviation of sine
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with sin


see live in sin; more sinned against than sinning; multitude of sins; ugly as sin; wages of sin.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.