Printable Version
Pronunciation: æn-ti-no-mi-ên-iz-êm Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: (Christianity) The position that belief in the Gospel frees Christians from obedience to any law—civil, criminal or moral—and that salvation is attained solely through divine grace.

Notes: This abstract noun is based on the adjective antinomian, which may also be used as a personal noun referring to someone who holds this belief. A lexically related noun, antinomy, is a law that contradicts another or a logical contradiction, a paradox.

In Play: This word has been used in historical contexts like this: "In 1637 Anne Hutchinson was banished from the Boston colony for "countenancing" antinomians in her house." Today the sense of antinomian might be stretched to apply to some supporters of President Trump.

Word History: Today's Good Word come from Medieval Latin antinomi "antinomians", the plural of antinomus "opposed to law", a derivation made up of Greek anti "against" + nomos "law". Anti came to Greek from Proto-Indo-European ant- "front, forehead, against", which Latin also inherited as ante "before, in front of, against", also used in English as a prefix: antebellum, anteroom, antedated. We can see it in antique, borrowed from Latin antiquus "former, earlier, ancient". Nomos is another matter. It seems to come from PIE nem-/nom- "take, assign, allot", but no one knows why. Greek nomos also seems to have meant "portion, custom, division, district", none of which connects to the sense of "law". (Rob Towart suggested today's Good Word back in August of 2016, before it became topical.)

Dr. Goodword,

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