1 a sin in the eyes of God: IMMORAL ACT, wrong, wrongdoing, act of evil/wickedness, transgression, crime, offense, misdeed, misdemeanor; archaic trespass.
2 the human capacity for sin: WICKEDNESS, wrongdoing, wrong, evil, evildoing, sinfulness, immorality, iniquity, vice, crime. ANTONYMS virtue.
3 informal they've cut the school music program—it's a sin: scandal, crime, disgrace, outrage.
I have sinned: COMMIT A SIN, commit an offense, transgress, do wrong, commit a crime, break the law, misbehave, go astray; archaic trespass.
Old English synn (noun), syngian (verb); probably related to Latin sons, sont- ‘guilty’.
Choose the right word
sin, crime, fault, indiscretion, offense, transgression, vice
If you've ever driven through a red light or chewed with your mouth open, you've committed an offense, which is a broad term covering any violation of the law or of standards of propriety and taste. A sin, on the other hand, is an act that specifically violates a religious, ethical, or moral standard (to marry someone of another faith was considered a sin). Transgression is a weightier and more serious word for sin, suggesting any violation of an agreed-upon set of rules (their behavior was clearly a transgression of the terms set forth in the treaty). A crime is any act forbidden by law and punishable upon conviction (a crime for which he was sentenced to death). A vice has less to do with violating the law and more to do with habits and practices that debase a person's character (alcohol was her only vice). Fault and indiscretion are gentler words, although they may be used as euphemisms for sin or crime. A fault is an unsatisfactory feature in someone's character (she is exuberant to a fault), while indiscretion refers to an unwise or improper action (speaking to the media was an indiscretion for which she was chastised). In recent years, however, indiscretion has become a euphemism for such sins as adultery, as if to excuse such behavior by attributing it to a momentary lapse of judgment (his indiscretions were no secret).
Last week's word
adjective (quirkier, quirkiest)
characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits: her sense of humor was decidedly quirky.
her quirky outfits: ECCENTRIC, idiosyncratic, unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, strange, bizarre, peculiar, odd, outlandish, zany; informal wacky, freaky, kinky, way-out, far out, kooky, offbeat. ANTONYMS conventional.
Conversational, opinionated and idiomatic, these Word Notes are an opportunity to see a working writer's perspective on a particular word or usage.
Just as the British use clever as a backhanded insult, meaning 'merely clever, not actually intelligent or thoughtful,' quirky is often used to mean 'mildly and harmlessly peculiar' with 'and totally uninteresting' implied. I hate quirky and hate having it applied to my own writing. I would rather receive a negative review that didn't use this word than a rave that did.