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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Heresy \Her"e*sy\, n.; pl. Heresies. [OE. heresie, eresie, OF. heresie, iresie, F. h['e]r['e]sie, L. haeresis, Gr. ? a taking, a taking for one's self, choosing, a choice, a sect, a heresy, fr. ? to take, choose.] [1913 Webster] 1. An opinion held in opposition to the established or commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote a division or party, as in politics, literature, philosophy, etc.; -- usually, but not necessarily, said in reproach. [1913 Webster] New opinions Divers and dangerous, which are heresies, And, not reformed, may prove pernicious. --Shak. [1913 Webster] After the study of philosophy began in Greece, and the philosophers, disagreeing amongst themselves, had started many questions . . . because every man took what opinion he pleased, each several opinion was called a heresy; which signified no more than a private opinion, without reference to truth or falsehood. --Hobbes. [1913 Webster] 2. (Theol.) Religious opinion opposed to the authorized doctrinal standards of any particular church, especially when tending to promote schism or separation; lack of orthodox or sound belief; rejection of, or erroneous belief in regard to, some fundamental religious doctrine or truth; heterodoxy. [1913 Webster] Doubts 'mongst divines, and difference of texts, From whence arise diversity of sects, And hateful heresies by God abhor'd. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] Deluded people! that do not consider that the greatest heresy in the world is a wicked life. --Tillotson. [1913 Webster] 3. (Law) An offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some essential doctrine, which denial is publicly avowed, and obstinately maintained. [1913 Webster] A second offense is that of heresy, which consists not in a total denial of Christianity, but of some its essential doctrines, publicly and obstinately avowed. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster] Note: "When I call dueling, and similar aberrations of honor, a moral heresy, I refer to the force of the Greek ?, as signifying a principle or opinion taken up by the will for the will's sake, as a proof or pledge to itself of its own power of self-determination, independent of all other motives." --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]