Iconoclast vs heretic

Photo of author


An iconoclast is someone who attacks traditional beliefs or concepts. An iconoclast also describes someone who destroys religious images or cherished sacred objects. Originally, iconoclast referred to persons in the Greek Orthodox church in the eighth and ninth centuries who destroyed religious icons and various other sacred objects, proclaiming that they were idols. The term iconoclast was also used to describe the Puritans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The word iconoclast comes from the Late Greek word eikonoklastes which means image breaker, related words are iconoclastic, iconoclasm.

A heretic is someone who holds a religious belief that is contrary to official religious teachings. Heretic also describes someone who holds an unorthodox belief or opinion in other fields beside religion. The word heretic comes from the Greek word hairetikos which means able to choose, related words are heretical, heretically, heresy. Remember, an iconoclast wants to destroy religious symbols, a heretic does not wish to destroy a religion, but does hold unorthodox beliefs.


“Mr. McCan was an iconoclast,” said Hewitt, 57, who is McCan’s godson. (The Victoria Advocate)

He’s a family man, with two boys, whom he’s obviously devoted to — possibly another disappointment for those who see him as some kind of iconoclast tearing down the establishment walls. (The Taipei Times)

Rock legend Marianne Lane is recuperating on the volcanic island of Pantelleria with her partner Paul when iconoclast record producer and old flame Harry unexpectedly arrives with his daughter Penelope and interrupts their holiday, bringing with him an A-bomb blast of nostalgia from which there can be no rescue. (The East Valley Tribune)

HE was a Roman Catholic priest and composer of sacred music who turned to Protestantism and had to flee to England to escape persecution as a heretic. (The National)

Fellow bishops labeled him a heretic, and his parish of thousands dwindled to dozens. (The Harvard Gazette)

Democrats on Capitol Hill have sent letters pressuring companies to disavow the Chamber of Commerce for its climate heresy. (The Wall Street Journal)