noun, plural a·nath·e·mas.
- a person or thing detested or loathed: That subject is anathema to him.
- a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.
- a formal ecclesiastical curse involving excommunication.
- any imprecation of divine punishment.
- a curse; execration.
noun plural -mas
- a detested person or thinghe is anathema to me
- a formal ecclesiastical curse of excommunication or a formal denunciation of a doctrine
- the person or thing so cursed
- a strong curse; imprecation
1520s, “an accursed thing,” from Latin anathema “an excommunicated person; the curse of excommunication,” from Greek anathema “a thing accursed,” originally “a thing devoted,” literally “a thing set up (to the gods),” from ana- “up” (see ana-) + tithenai “to place,” from PIE root *dhe- “to put, to do” (see factitious).
Originally simply a votive offering, by the time it reached Latin the meaning had progressed through “thing devoted to evil,” to “thing accursed or damned.” Later applied to persons and the Divine Curse. Meaning “formal act or formula of consigning to damnation” is from 1610s.
Anathema maranatha, taken as an intensified form, is a misreading of the Syriac maran etha “the Lord hath come,” which follows anathema in I Cor. xvi:22, but is not connected with it (see Maranatha).