• heinous •
hay-nês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Horribly vile, terribly wicked, unforgivably evil, repulsively abominable.
Notes: The I-before-E rule doesn't apply here because the pronunciation isn't [ee] but [ay]. This word comes with an adverb, heinously and a noun, clunky heinousness. Heinosity is currently being tested on the Web, but no dictionary has validated it yet.
In Play: Heinous acts continue to be committed. The recent murder of George Floyd (2020) was a heinous act by all who participated and those who watched it happen. That does not mean it is immune from wordplay: "Billy was chastised for the heinous sin of not washing his hands before dinner."
Word History: Today's Good Word was Old French hainos "hateful, odious" when Middle English borrowed it, based on haine "hatred, hate", the noun from hair "to hate". Old French had borrowed this word from Proto-Germanic hatjan "to hate", which descended directly to English as hate and German as Hass. Proto-Germanic inherited its word from Proto-Indo-European kados "sorrow, hatred", which ancient Greek converted it to kedos "trouble, sorrow" and Welsh, to cas "hate, anger". (Now, let's thank our old friend Albert Skiles for recommending today's rather scary Good Word.)
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