noun, plural her·e·sies.
- opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.
- the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.
- Roman Catholic Church. the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church.
- any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.
noun plural -sies
- an opinion or doctrine contrary to the orthodox tenets of a religious body or church
- the act of maintaining such an opinion or doctrine
- any opinion or belief that is or is thought to be contrary to official or established theory
- belief in or adherence to unorthodox opinion
“an opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church” [Johnson], c.1200, from Old French heresie (12c.), from Latin hæresis, “school of thought, philosophical sect,” used by Christian writers for “unorthodox sect or doctrine,” from Greek hairesis “a taking or choosing, a choice,” from haireisthai “take, seize,” middle voice of hairein “to choose,” of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE *ser- “to seize” (cf. Hittite šaru “booty,” Welsh herw “booty”).
The Greek word was used in the New Testament in reference to the Sadducees, Pharisees, and even the Christians, as sects of Judaism, but in English bibles it usually is translated sect. Meaning “religious belief opposed to the orthodox doctrines of the Church” evolved in Late Latin. Transferred (non-religious) use from late 14c.
A belief or teaching considered unacceptable by a religious group. (See heretic.)