Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.
  • noun A vehement denunciation; a curse.
  • noun One that is cursed or damned.
  • noun One that is greatly reviled, loathed, or shunned.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A person or thing held to be accursed or devoted to damnation or destruction.
  • noun A curse or denunciation pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, involving excommunication.
  • noun Hence Any imprecation of divine punishment; a curse; an execration.
  • noun Anything devoted to religious uses.
  • noun A phrase, properly two separate words (see etymology), occurring in the following passage, where it is popularly regarded (and hence sometimes elsewhere used) as an intenser form of anathema.
  • noun Synonyms and Curse, Execration, etc. See malediction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, and accompanied by excommunication. Hence: Denunciation of anything as accursed.
  • noun An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.
  • noun Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority.
  • noun an expression commonly considered as a highly intensified form of anathema. Maran atha is now considered as a separate sentence, meaning, “Our Lord cometh.”

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, often accompanied by excommunication; denunciation of anything as accursed.
  • noun An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.
  • noun Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication
  • noun a detested person

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin, doomed offering, accursed thing, from Greek, from anatithenai, anathe-, to dedicate : ana-, ana- + tithenai, to put; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin anathema ("curse, person cursed, offering"), from Ancient Greek ἀνάθεμα (anathema, "something dedicated, especially dedicated to evil"), from ἀνατίθημι (anatithēmi, "I set upon, offer as a votive gift"), from ἀνά (ana, "upon") + τίθημι (tithēmi, "I put, place"). The Ancient Greek term was influenced by Hebrew חרם (herem), leading to the sense of "accursed," especially in Ecclesiastical writers.

Examples

  • Of course (he says self-servingly) the No Spin Zone rejects predictability entirely and lives to ask questions that require actual thought, a word anathema to most politicians in this age of spin.

    Blood Sugar

  • I'm just excited I used the word anathema in a sentence!

    Why Suzy Needs Therapy

  • The word anathema frequently occurs in St. Paul's writings, and is generally translated accused.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • A solemn anathema is pronounced against Nestorius and Eutyches; against all heretics by whom Christ is divided, or confounded, or reduced to a phantom.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • So across the political spectrum, for anyone thinking in essentialist terms, the mores render the word anathema from both directions.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • So across the political spectrum, for anyone thinking in essentialist terms, the mores render the word anathema from both directions.

    On Profanity: 3

  • The word is anathema to conservative or middle-of-the-road politicians in most countries, who see in it a radical and perhaps exaggerated voice.

    Why there's no reason to fear feminism | Jonathan Glennie

  • Even lifestyle choices like driving a small car, carpooling and living in the vicinity of where we work are largely anathema, which is why I'm not the least bit shocked by the Lexus LS 600h L.

    Pale Green -- Lexus's $100,000 Hybrid

  • Curse Alviarin and that triply cursed proclamation calling anathema on anyone who approached him save through the Tower.

    Knife of Dreams

  • The Greek word anathema, Hebrew herem, means to accurse, execrate, to damn.

    A Commentary on St. Paul���s Epistle to the Galatians

Comments

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  • "The final reason for the cessation of violence was the stand-down by Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, which is lying low. That stand-down, which can be reversed at any time, was brokered by -- Iran. But Iran is playing all sides: It supports both Maliki and Sadr. The U.S. simply cannot compete in this kind of deep game, at which Iran has excelled for centuries, without diplomatic engagement. But for McCain, that is anathema."

    - Gary Kamiya, 'Remember Iraq?', 30 Sep 2008.

    October 1, 2008

  • quality is not an anathema to profit - Studio 60

    February 16, 2009

  • This word is usually used without any article, so for the Studio 60 quote, I would say, "Quality is not anathema to profit."

    February 16, 2009

  • Therefore, the increased SHBG under conditions of fat metabolism is anathema to the steroid-suppression of SHBG release model.

    April 24, 2010

  • See lycanthropic

    March 3, 2012

  • Peterson considers such laws anathema to free speech and makes the case, as a number of other psychologists have, that measures of implicit bias are based on shaky science.

    January 18, 2018