Dictionary: HER'E-SY – HER-MET'IC, or HER-MET'IC-AL

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HER'E-SY, n. [Gr. αίρεσις, from αίρεω, to take, to hold; L. hæresis; Fr. heresie.]

  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. Blackstone.
  3. An untenable or unsound opinion or doctrine in politics. Swift.

HER'E-TIC, n. [Gr. αιρετικος; It. eretico; Fr. heretique.]

  1. A person under any religion, but particularly the Christian, who holds and teaches opinions repugnant to the established faith, or that which is made the standard of orthodoxy. In strictness, among Christians, a person who holds and avows religious opinions contrary to the doctrines of Scripture, the only rule of faith and practice.
  2. Any one who maintains erroneous opinions. Shak.


Containing heresy; contrary to the established faith, or to the true faith.


In an heretical manner; with heresy.


To decide to be heresy.

HERE-TO', or HERE-UN'TO, adv. [comp. here and unto or to.]

To this. Hooker.

HERE-TO-FORE', adv. [comp. here and tofore.]

In times before the present; formerly. Sidney.

HER'E-TOG, or HER'E-TOCH, n. [Sax. heretoga, here, an army, and teoche, a leader, from teogan, teon, to lead, L. duco, dux, Eng. to tug.]

Among our Saxon ancestors, the leader or commander of an army, or the commander of the militia in a county or district. This officer was elected by the people in folkmote.

HERE-UP-ON', adv. [comp. here and upon.]

On this.

HERE-WITH', adv. [comp. here and with.]

With this. Most of the compounds of here and a preposition, are obsolete or obsolescent, or at least are deemed inelegant But hereafter and heretofore are in elegant use. Herein and hereby are frequently used in the present version of the Scriptures, and ought not perhaps to be discarded. Indeed some of these words seem to be almost indispensable in technical law language.

HER'I-OT, n. [Sax. heregeat; here, army, and geat, tribute, supply, from geotan, to flow, to render.]

In English law, a tribute or fine payable to the lord of the fee on the decease of the owner, landholder or vassal. Originally this tribute consisted of military furniture, or of horses and arms, as appears by the laws of Canute, C. 69. But as defined by modern writers, a heriot is a customary tribute of goods and chattels, payable to the lord of the fee on the decease of the owner of the land; or a render of the best beast or other movables to the lord on the death of the tenant. Heriots were of two sorts; heriot service, which was due by reservation in a grant or lease of lands; and heriot custom, which depended solely on immemorial usage. Wilkins. Spelman. Blackstone.


Subject to the payment of a heriot. Burn.

HER'IS-SON, n. [Fr. a hedgehog, from herisser, to bristle, to stand out as hair.]

In fortification, a beam or bar armed with iron spikes pointing outward, and turning on a pivot; used to block up a passage. Encyc.

HER'IT-A-BLE, a. [from the root of heir, L. hæres.]

  1. Capable of inheriting or taking by descent. By the canon law this son shall be legitimate and heritable. Hale.
  2. That may be inherited. [This is the true sense.]
  3. Annexed to estates of inheritance. In Scots law, heritable rights are all rights that affect lands or other immovables. Encyc. Blackstone.

HER'IT-AGE, n. [Fr. from the root of heir.]

  1. Inheritance; an estate that passes from an ancestor to an heir by descent or course of law; that which is inherited. In Scots law, it sometimes signifies immovable estate, in distinction from movable.
  2. In Scripture, the saints or people of God are called his heritage, as being claimed by him, and the objects of his special care. 1 Pet. v.


Hermaphrodism. B. Jonson.

HER-MAPH'RO-DISM, n. [infra.]

The union of the two sexes in the same individual. Dict. Nat. Hist.


Designating both sexes in the same animal, flower or plant.

HER-MAPH'RO-DITE, n. [Fr. from Gr. ερμαφροδιτος; ερμης, Mercury, and αφροδιτη, Venus.]

  1. A human being, having the parts of generation both of male and female. The term is applied also to other animals characterized by a similar formation. Encyc.
  2. In botany, a flower that contains both the stamen and the pistil, or the male and female organs of generation, within the same calyx or on the same receptacle. Martyn. Encyc.
  3. A plant that has only hermaphrodite flowers. Martyn.


Partaking of both sexes. Brown.


After the manner of hermaphrodites.

HER-ME-NEU'TIC, or HER-ME-NEU'TIC-AL, a. [Gr. ερμηνευτικος, from ερμηνευς, an interpreter, from ερμης, Mercury.]

Interpreting; explaining; unfolding the signification; as, hermeneutic theology, the art of expounding the Scriptures. Bloomfield. Encyc.


According to the true art of interpreting words. M. Stuart.


The art of finding the meaning of an author's words and phrases, and of explaining it to others.

HER-MET'IC, or HER-MET'IC-AL, a. [Fr. hermetique; Sp. hermetico; from Gr. ερμης, Mercury, the fabled inventor of chimistry.]

  1. Designating chimistry; chimical; as, the hermetic art.
  2. Designating that species of philosophy which pretends to solve and explain all the phenomena of nature from the three chimical principles, salt, sulphur and mercury; as, the hermetic philosophy.
  3. Designating the system which explains the causes of diseases and the operations of medicine, on the principles of the hermetical philosophy, and particularly on the system of an alkali and acid; as, hermetical physic or medicine. Encyc.
  4. Perfectly close, so that no air, gas or spirit can escape; as, an hermetic seal. The hermetic seal is formed by heating the neck of a vessel till it is soft, and then twisting it, till the aperture or passage is accurately closed. Encyc. Hermetic books, books of the Egyptians which treat of astrology. Bryant. Books which treat of universal principles, of the nature and orders of celestial beings, of medicine and other topics.