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Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri May 10, 2019 7:11 pm

<2019 “Recently, under the somewhat unlikely inspiration of Elizabeth Warren [U.S. Senator], some conservatives have revived an old debate: Did millions of women entering the work force actually make families worse off? In her lost days as a heterodox public intellectual, Warren made the case that indeed it did . . . . —The New York Times (New York, New York), 7 May>
I had a vague recollection (my memory isn’t improving with age :( ) of running into this word before and, sure enough, I found that less than a year ago it appeared in Erik Kowal’s posting Passing English of the Victorian era, a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase (1909) . Incidentally, this book is available at no cost from Kindle and is really very interesting — thumbing through it this morning I found it hard to put down.

Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary

heterodox adjective

1) Differing from an established religious point of view [1650]
a) Contrary to acknowledged religious opinion or belief, differing from a religious standard or official position unorthodox, heretical <heterodox sermon>
b) Accepting or teaching heretical or unorthodox opinions or doctrines. <The heterodox opponent of the established religion has often much more real faith than most of its followers.>

2) Lacking the usual content, qualities, or values; not following traditional form or procedure; unconventional [1654] <Some heterodox ideas on books> <The societies representing the orthodox practice of medicine have generally succeeded in keeping … heterodox practitioners out.>

Etymology: Late Latin heterodoxus from Greek heterodoxos, from hetero- heter- + doxa opinion

Antonym: orthodox

Synonyms: dissentient, dissenting, dissident, heretical, iconoclastic, maverick, nonconformist, nonorthodox, out-there, unconventional, unorthodox


The following quotes are from the The Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1859 “The Major . . . held some strangely heterodox opinions on the modern education of girls.”—Queen of Hearts by W. Collins, I. page 20>

<1902 “The day being young . . . I ventured on a somewhat heterodox return to Keswick, taking neither the Stainton nor the ordinary Greystroke route.”—The Guardian (London, England), 20 January, page 9>

<1945 “On one important aspect of British economic policy Lord Beaverbrook is decidedly heterodox and in view of his influence in the Government the point may be important.”—The Guardian (London, Greater London, England), 29 May, page 4>

<1987 “Price is also very astute and heterodox in his appraisals of Henry James, . . . , Toni Morrison, . . . , and Ernest Hemingway, whose lifelong subject, he proposes with a certain perverse logic, was ‘saintliness.’”—Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), 12 December, page 367>

<1998 “Here’s how Howard Gotlieb, the always amusing director of Boston University’s Special Collection Library, explains his heterodox collecting tastes . . .”—The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 14 August, page 33>
<2012 “His ‘optimistic’ devotion ot new ideas is refreshingly heterodox.”—Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 9 January, page 8>

<2019 “Even Mark Zuckerburg [founder & CEO of Facebook] now wants new legislation to limit speech. We’ve gone from wanting information to be free to fearing the heterodox.”—Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut), 5 April, page A7>

Ken Greenwald – May 10, 2019

Re: heterodox

Post by trolley » Fri May 10, 2019 8:39 pm

Good one, Ken. After reading that, I thought, "shouldn't the antonym of heterodox be homodox? (if there was such a word)". It turns out there is such a word, although Onelook didn't recognize it (nor does the spell-checker on this site). Homodox means "having the same opinion or belief". Orthodox seems to mean having the "correct" opinion or belief. They don't really seem to be the same animal. If enough people agree to do something the wrong way, they'd be homodox while being unorthodox?

Re: heterodox

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat May 11, 2019 7:21 pm

John, You’re right. The antonym of the prefix ‘ortho-‘ is ‘homo-‘ For example, “homogenous vs. heterogenous.” So I agree that it seems the straightforward antonym of ‘heterodox’ should be ‘homodox.’

The path to getting the antonym of ‘heterodox’ to be the word ‘orthodox’, however, is a bit more circuitous (i.e. shaky)
The prefix (heter- or hetero-) means other, different, or dissimilar. It is derived from the Greek héteros meaning 'other.'

The prefix orthos is a Greek prefix for the English prefix ‘ortho-’ meaning straight, upright, right, correct, proper. Thus its antonyms would ordinarily be taken to be words like crooked, leaning, prone, or incorrect, improper. The ‘incorrect’ or ‘improper’ meaning would then be, with a bit of contortion, the best fit, but not great, with that of ‘heter-,’ other, different, or dissimilar.

So I’d say your choice of ‘homodox’ would have been the more direct and easier to justify choice for the antonym of ‘heterodox.’ But ‘homodox’ doesn’t seem to have caught on that much in dictionaries and the only ones I found it in were Wiktionary and the Urban Dictionary.


homodox adjective

1) Having the same opinion as another.

2) Conforming to accepted standards or beliefs.

Synonyms[edit]: (conforming to standard beliefs): orthodox

Antonyms[edit]: heterodox; (conforming to standard beliefs): unorthodox


Urban Dictionary

homodox adjective

To have the same beliefs as another person <I am homodox>

However, it does appear in numerous books and magazines and Newspapers dating from the 19th century to the present including for example: the magazine The Living Age (1883); Design: The Journal of the Society of Newspaper Designers(1992); The Endangered English Dictionary: Bodacious Words Your Dictionary Forgot (1997) by David Grambs; The Rofemtic Movement (2013) by Louise Goueffic: etc., etc,

Here are a few quotes:
<1844 “Whilst their union in dogma is declared, the union of the the church of Greece with all homodox churches is equally averted."— The Morning Chronicle (London, Greater London, England), 6 February, page 3>

<1968 "My herd-minded may be either tender or tough, but their herd-mindedness predominates (they are predominantly homodox — they conform to prevailing opinion regardless of their tender or tough-mindedness)."—Seventeen problems of man and society by Ralph Borsodi, page 322>

<2008 "These expectations, besides having a political hue to them (participation in revolutionary movements, relations with western powers or with homodox Russia[/b]), . . ."—Archivum Ottomanicum by by Gyorgy Hazai, page 223>

Ken — May 11, 2019

Re: heterodox

Post by trolley » Sat May 11, 2019 8:49 pm

Ken Greenwald wrote: Sat May 11, 2019 7:21 pm But ‘homodox’ doesn’t seem to have caught on that much in dictionaries and the only ones I found it in were Wiktionary and the Urban Dictionary.
I was surprised to see that. Wiki and Urban Dictionary aren't the most reliable sources...usually.

Re: heterodox

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun May 12, 2019 2:50 am

Trolley wrote:I was surprised to see that. Wiki and Urban Dictionary aren't the most reliable sources...usually.
They're not the most reliable sources, but in this instance they were the only dictionary sources. That may have been the first time I ever quoted the Urban Dictionary. :(

Ken — May 11, 2019

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