the offence of breaking, or the breaking of, a religious or moral law
to commit a sin
something that your religion says you should not do, because it is very bad:
Stealing is a sin.
I. sin1 S2 /sɪn/ BrE AmE noun
[Language: Old English; Origin: synn]
1. [uncountable and countable] an action that is against religious rules and is considered to be an offence against God
the sin of pride
She needed to confess her sins and ask for forgiveness.
He knew that he had committed a terrible sin.
the seven deadly sins (=seven bad feelings or desires, in the Christian religion)
2. a sin informal something that you think is very wrong
it is a sin (to do something)
There’s so much lovely food here, it would be a sin to waste it.
3. live in sin old-fashioned if two people live in sin, they live together in a sexual relationship without being married
4. as miserable/ugly/guilty as sin especially British English spoken very unhappy, ugly, or guilty:
I saw Margaret this morning looking as miserable as sin.
5. for my sins especially British English spoken an expression used to suggest jokingly that you have to do something as a punishment:
I work at head office now, for my sins.
⇨ cover/hide a multitude of sins at ↑multitude(4), ⇨ ↑cardinal sin, ↑mortal sin, ↑original sin
▪ commit a sin He has committed a grave sin.
▪ confess your sins He knelt and confessed his sins to God.
▪ forgive sins God has forgiven all my sins.
▪ repent (of) your sins (=be sorry you committed them) I sincerely repent of my sins.
▪ the seven deadly sins (=seven bad feelings or desires, in the Christian religion, for example greed or too much pride)
▪ a great sin Possibly the greatest sin you can be guilty of is not speaking out against cruelty or injustice when you see it.
▪ a besetting sin literary (=one that you keep committing) Drunkenness was his besetting sin.
sin [sin sins sinned sinning] noun, verb, abbreviation [sɪn] [sɪn]
1. countable an offence against God or against a religious or moral law
• to commit a sin
• Confess your sins to God and he will forgive you.
• The Bible says that stealing is a sin.
see also mortal sin, original sin
2. uncountable the act of breaking a religious or moral law
• a life of sin
3. countable, usually singular (informal) an action that people strongly disapprove of
• It's a sin to waste taxpayers' money like that.
see also sinful, sinner
more at cover/hide a multitude of sins at multitude, live in sin at live1
v. and n. Old English synn (noun), syngian (verb); probably related to Latin sons, sont- ‘guilty’.
believe in God/Christ/Allah/free will/predestination/heaven and hell/an afterlife/reincarnation
be/become a believer/an atheist/an agnostic/a Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist, etc.
convert to/practise/ (especially US) practice a religion/Buddhism/Catholicism/Christianity/Islam/Judaism, etc.
go to church/(NAmE) temple (= the synagogue)
go to the local church/mosque/synagogue/gurdwara
belong to a church/a religious community
join/enter the church/a convent/a monastery/a religious sect/the clergy/the priesthood
Celebrations and ritual
attend/hold/conduct/lead a service
perform a ceremony/a rite/a ritual/a baptism/the Hajj/a mitzvah
carry out/perform a sacred/burial/funeral/fertility/purification rite
go on/make a pilgrimage
observe/break the Sabbath/a fast/Ramadan
deliver/preach/hear a sermon
lead/address the congregation
say/recite a prayer/blessing
Religious texts and ideas
preach/proclaim/spread the word of God/the Gospel/the message of Islam
study/follow the dharma/the teachings of Buddha
read/study/understand/interpret scripture/the Bible/the Koran/the gospel/the Torah
be based on/derive from divine revelation
commit/consider sth heresy/sacrilege
Religious belief and experience
strengthen/lose your faith
keep/practise/practice/abandon the faith
save/purify/lose your soul
obey/follow/keep/break/violate a commandment/Islamic law/Jewish law
be/accept/do God's will
receive/experience divine grace
undergo a conversion/rebirth/reincarnation
hear/answer a prayer
commit/confess/forgive a sin
• Even politicians are not immune from the sins of the flesh.
• It's considered a sin to be disrespectful to your parents.
• Our sons will pay for the sins of their fathers.
• Sin against others is seen as a sin against God.
• The besetting sin of 18th-century urban Britain was drunkenness.
• They had confessed their sins and done their penance.
• They would have to expiate their sins through suffering.
• We believe in the forgiveness of sins.
• We have repented for past sins. Now it's time to move on.
• sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol
• the Christian doctrine of original sin
• Believers are called on to turn away from sin and embrace a life of prayer.
• Father, I have committed a sin.
• He was pursuing an active life of sin when he felt the Lord speaking to him.
• It's a sin to waste taxpayers' money like that.
Idioms: something for your sins ▪ ugly as sin
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
sin / sɪn / noun [ C or U ]
C2 the offence of breaking, or the breaking of, a religious or moral law:
to commit/confess a sin
He thinks a lot about sin.
[ + to infinitive ] informal I think it 's a sin (= is morally wrong) to waste food, when so many people in the world are hungry.
humorous For my sins (= as if it were a punishment) , I'm organizing the office party this year.
sinless / -ləs / adjective
© Cambridge University Press 2013
sins, sinning, sinned
1) N-VAR Sin or a sin is an action or type of behaviour which is believed to break the laws of God.
→ See also cardinal sin, mortal sin
The Vatican's teaching on abortion is clear: it is a sin...
Was it the sin of pride to have believed too much in themselves?
2) VERB If you sin, you do something that is believed to break the laws of God.
[V against n] The Spanish Inquisition charged him with sinning against God and man...
You have sinned and unless you repent your ways you will surely roast in hell.
sinner [sɪ̱nə(r)] plural N-COUNT I was shown that I am a sinner, that I needed to repent of my sins.
3) N-COUNT A sin is any action or behaviour that people disapprove of or consider morally wrong.
...the sin of arrogant hard-heartedness...
The ultimate sin was not infidelity, but public mention which led to scandal.
4) PHRASE: V inflects If you say that a man and a woman are living in sin, you mean that they are living together as a couple although they are not married. [OLD-FASHIONED]
a multitude of sins → see multitude
She was living in sin with her boyfriend.
1sin /ˈsɪn/ noun, pl sins
1 : an action that is considered to be wrong according to religious or moral law
• He committed the sin of stealing.
• Murder is a sin.
• I confessed my sins.
• We are not free from sin.
• a world of sin
- see also cardinal sin, deadly sin, mortal sin, original sin, venial sin
2 [count] : an action that is considered to be bad - usually singular
• It's a sin to waste food.
- see also besetting sin
(as) guilty/miserable/ugly as sin informal : very guilty/miserable/ugly
• Even though he was acquitted, most people think he is guilty as sin.
• That house is as ugly as sin.
for your sins chiefly Brit humorous
- used to say that you are doing something unpleasant, difficult, etc., as a form of punishment
• For my sins, I was made chairman of the board.
live in sin
- see 1live