Definition of infidel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈinfədl/
Pronunciation: /ˈinfəˌdel/


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
rare nullifidian


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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·fi·del

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