HER'ESY, noun [Gr. to take, to hold; Latin haeresis.]
1. A fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. But in countries where there is an established church, an opinion is deemed heresy when it differs from that of the church. The Scriptures being the standard of faith, any opinion that is repugnant to its doctrines, is heresy; but as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical by one body of christians, may be deemed orthodox by another. In Scripture and primitive usage, heresy meant merely sect, party, or the doctrines of a sect, as we now use denomination or persuasion, implying no reproach.
2. heresy in law, is an offense against christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained.
3. An untenable or unsound opinion or doctrine in politics.