Heinous means extremely wicked, abominable, or reprehensible.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Atrocious, monstrous, odious, abominable, detestable, execrable, nefarious


Admirable, commendable, laudable, meritorious, praiseworthy, righteous, virtuous

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun heinousnesses, heinousness
Verb None
Adjective heinous
Adverb heinously

Example Sentences

  • The serial killer was convicted of several heinous crimes, including murder, rape, and torture.

  • The dictator committed numerous heinous acts against his own people, including genocide and mass imprisonment.

  • The company was sued for their heinous environmental practices, which had caused irreparable harm to the ecosystem.

  • The football player was suspended from the league after committing a heinous foul on the opposing team’s player.


The word “heinous” is often used to describe acts or behaviors that are considered extremely evil or immoral. It is derived from the Middle English word “heinous,” which means hateful or abominable. The word can be used to describe a wide range of behaviors or actions, from violent crimes to unethical business practices.

One common prefix used with “heinous” is “un-” to form “unheinous,” which means not heinous or not extremely wicked. This word is used to describe acts or behaviors that, while still bad, are not as severe as those described by “heinous.” Another related word is “heinously,” which is an adverb form of “heinous” and means in a heinous or wicked manner.

The word “heinous” is often used in legal contexts to describe crimes or acts that are considered especially reprehensible. In these contexts, the use of “heinous” serves to emphasize the seriousness of the offense and the severity of the punishment that may be imposed. For example, a judge may describe a defendant’s behavior as heinous when imposing a sentence, or a prosecutor may use the term to argue for a harsher penalty. Overall, “heinous” is a strong and evocative word that conveys a sense of extreme moral outrage and condemnation.