Share this entry
infidel Syllabification: in·fi·del
Pronunciation: /ˈinfədl/

Definition of infidel in English:


chiefly archaic
A person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one’s own: (as plural noun the infidel) they wanted to secure the Holy Places from the infidel
More example sentences
  • It does not believe that there are pagans and infidels waiting to be converted to a particular system of beliefs and ideas or a race of the damned waiting to be saved.
  • Churches were running out of room, and infidels begged the religious community to pray to their God to save them.
  • Particular emphasis is placed on not recognizing the holy days or national observances of the infidels.
unbeliever, disbeliever, nonbeliever, agnostic, atheist;
heathen, pagan, idolater, heretic, freethinker, dissenter, nonconformist
archaic paynim


Back to top  
Adhering to a religion other than one’s own: the infidel foe
More example sentences
  • The new objects were dismissed by Descartes' disciples, who felt certain that this infidel mathematician and his ungodly ‘discoveries’ could be explained away.
  • But strip an Irish Catholic of his nationality, and you tumble down the bulwark that shelters his faith in a foreign and infidel land.
  • The Turks were marched to Gallipoli to defend their homeland from infidel invaders; the English and Aussies and New Zealanders, shipped to Turkey to defeat the barbarians who had joined the German invaders.


Late 15th century: from French infidèle or Latin infidelis, from in- 'not' + fidelis 'faithful' (from fides 'faith', related to fidere 'to trust'). The word originally denoted a person of a religion other than one's own, specifically a Muslim (to a Christian), a Christian (to a Muslim), or a Gentile (to a Jew).

  • An infidel is a person who is ‘not faithful’. The word goes back to Latin infidelis (the source, too, of infidelity (Late Middle English)), from fides faith, and originally referred to a person of a religion other than your own. To a Christian an infidel was usually a Muslim, who would consider a Christian an infidel in return, and to a Jew an infidel would be a Gentile.

Definition of infidel in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources