Alphadictionary: Sin

from alphadictionary: SIN

Pronunciation: sin
Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A violation of religious principle. 2. Something regarded as utterly wrong, shameful, deplorable.

Notes: Today’s word may be used as a mass noun (no plural), as in, “Sin pervades the planet.” It may also be used as a count noun, “God will forgive us all our sins.”

Don’t confuse crime with sin: crime refers to the law of man; sin is a violation of the laws of God. The adjectives are sinful and its opposite, sinless. Both form adverbs with -ly and nouns with -ness.

In Play: Even though we often disagree on what constitutes sin, we all feel obliged to hate it: “She loved sinners as much as she hated the sins they committed.”   We to use this word figuratively “It is a sin the way Portia Carr spends money.”

Word History:

This word has been around for a long time, which makes sense as so has the idea.  Still it is not used towards Adam and Eve and “original sin” in the Bible itself.  That came later.   The  word originates in the PIE (proto Indo-European) root es- “to be”, though the semantic path is far from clear, all of which makes it a distant cousin of English or, more likely, some historical present participle of that word.

Latin son(t)s “guilty” seems related to sen(t)s “being”, and German Sünde “sin” shows striking similarities to seiend “being”. Sin is the state in which all (human) beings are born according to Christianity, among other religions, so this might be the connection.


Here’s a wild fact: SIN does not appear at all in the Old Testament; first time it comes up is Matthew 3:2 and it is uttered by John the Baptist.

“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” New Living Translation. If we only consider the King James Version, then it is Jesus who makes the first entry also in Matthew, but Chapter 12 in what has been termed “The Unpardonable Sin” verse that  Saint Augustine reckoned to be the most difficult int he Bible.

Personally I think the KJV wins on this one, giving the first mention of SIN to our Lord and Saviour.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy (detraction of character, slander) shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Spirit) shall not be forgiven unto men.

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