• IPA: /əˈnæθəmə/

anathema (plural anathemas)

  1. (ecclesiastical, historical) A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, often accompanied by excommunication; something denounced as accursed. [from early 17th c.]
    Synonyms: ban, curse
  2. (by extension) Something which is vehemently disliked by somebody.
    Synonyms: bête noire
  3. (literary) An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.
    • 1920, Edwin Alrington /Robinson, The Three Taverns, "The Wandering Jew"
      I trembled at his ringing wealth
      Of manifold anathemas […]
    • 2002, Joseph O'Conner, Star of the Sea, Vintage 2003, p. 30:
      quote en
  4. (ecclesiastical) Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority. [from 1520s]
    • 1611, King James Version, 1 Corinthians 16:22:
      If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
    • 1707, John Locke, An Essay for Understanding St. Paul's Epistles, by Consulting St. Paul Himself, "The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans," Section VIII:
      Ἆνάθεμα, accurẛed, חרם, which the Septuagint renders Anathema, ẛignifies Perẛons or Things devoted to Deẛtruction and Extermination. The Jewiẛh Nation were now an Anathema, deẛtin'd to Deẛtruction. St. Paul to expreẛs his Affection to them, ẛays, he could wiẛh to ẛave them from it, to become an Anathema and be deẛtroy'd himẛelf.
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