1. The formal act of consign
ing to damnation
: a ban
pronounced by ecclesiastical
authority; an excommunication
Misc. biblical references: Judith 16: 23; Matthew 26: 74; Mark 14: 17; Acts 23: 12-14; Romans 9: 3; 1 Corinthians 12: 3, 16:22; Galatians 1: 8- 9.
2. Anything accursed, or consigned to damnation; anything detested or reviled. Generally used as a predicate nominitive: X is anathema to Y.
See also bête noire, leper, pariah, preterite, reprobate.
3. Any strong denunciation, curse or imprecation.
Hence anathematize or -ise:
1. (trans) to pronounce an anathema upon; to denounce, curse or execrate something.
2. (intrans) To curse strongly.
Derived forms: anathematization, anathematizer.
Etymology: C16 Church Latin anathema, sentence of excommunication or excommunicated person, from Greek, 'a thing devoted', later an accursed thing; from anatithenai, to dedicate, to set up a votive gift; ana- + tithenai, to set.