November 28th, 2021

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Heinous

heinous [hey-nuhs]

adjective:
1 hatefully or shockingly evil, abominable
2 (informal) very unappealing; ugly

Examples:

Although fans see a glimpse of Nigari's sad backstory as he's shooting people with a sniper rifle, the fact that he was bullied as a kid doesn't do much to justify his heinous actions on the show. (Saab Hannah, Alice In Borderland: 9 Most Heartbreaking Character Deaths, Ranked, Screenrant, November 2021)

They allege that unless restrained from doing so, the defendants intend to commit further such heinous acts and that requires this court to issue an injunction to stop the defendants painting the first and second walls, or doing anything which is inconsistent with the plaintiffs; ownership of the walls. (Angie Raphael, 'Good fences make good neighbours': Warring rich families take wall fight to the WA Supreme Court, news.com.au, November 2021)

I always love the countries that proudly display elements of their national dress, something Australia struggled with as we veer between awful 'ironic' short sleeved shirts by Mambo (closing ceremony 2000), some pretty dreadful green blouson Back to the Future jackets in 2004, or just trying to work miracles with the heinous colour pairing of green and gold. (Kirstie Clements, Oh, Canada! Those Olympics outfits are uniformly awful, The New Daily, April 2021)

You would surely have thought that I had been detected in no less a heinous crime than the purloining of the Crown Jewels from the Tower, or putting poison in the coffee of His Majesty the King. (Edgar Rice Burroughs, At the Earth's Core)

Origin:

late 14c, 'hateful, odious, atrocious,' from Old French hainos 'inconvenient, awkward; hateful, unpleasant; odious' (12c, Modern French haineux), from haine 'hatred, hate,' from hair 'to hate,' from Frankish, from Proto-Germanic hatjan, from PIE kad- 'sorrow, hatred. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Humans have contrasted love with hate and good with evil for eons, putting love and good on one side and hate and evil on the other. The etymology of heinous reflects the association of hate with that which is evil or horrible. During the 14th century, English borrowed 'heinous' from the Middle French haine, meaning 'hate.' Over time English speakers came to use the word to reflect the sense of horror evoked by intense hatred. (Merriam-Webster)