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From Middle English iniquite, from Old French iniquité, from Latin iniquitas, from iniquus (unjust, harmful), from in- + aequus (equal). Compare inequity.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪnˈɪk.wɪ.ti/
  • (file)


iniquity (countable and uncountable, plural iniquities)

  1. Deviation from what is right; wickedness, gross injustice.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, Othello, Act IV, sc. 1:
      If you are ſo fond ouer her iniquitie : giue her pattent to offend, for it it touch not you, it comes neere no body.
    • 1611, King James Version, Job 15:15–16:
      Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
    • 1994, Jules, Pulp Fiction,
      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    • 2014 October 21, Oliver Brown, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities: Bladerunner's punishment for killing Reeva Steenkamp is but a frippery when set against the burden that her bereft parents, June and Barry, must carry [print version: No room for sentimentality in this tragedy, 13 September 2014, p. S22]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      But ever since the concept of "hamartia" recurred through Aristotle's Poetics, in an attempt to describe man's ingrained iniquity, our impulse has been to identify a telling defect in those brought suddenly and dramatically low.
  2. An unfair act or unconscionable deed.
  3. Hostility, malevolence, lawlessness.
  4. Denial of the sovereignty of God.