1. Wicked; abominable: a heinous crime.
2. Informal Very unappealing; ugly: showed up wearing that heinous shirt.
[Middle English, from Old French haineus, from haine, hatred, from hair, to hate, from Frankish *hatjan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.