“The dog owner struggled to handle the Shiba Inu’s heterodox style – her new puppy did not respond to any dog training methods in the books she had read.”

Based on the sentence above, which definition most accurately describes heterodox?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Not conforming to standards of behavior or ideology
Choice B - Not questioning authority or standards of behavior
Choice C - Being self-assured to the point of arrogance
Choice D - Being incredibly cute


Heterodox (adjective) – not conforming to standard behavior or ideology

GRE pro tips:

You’re more likely to recognize the word orthodox than you are to recognize heterodox. But, you should notice that these words share a common root: the Greek dox, which means “opinion, idea, or belief.” Now, the prefix ortho means “straight.” (Think of an orthopedic surgeon whose job it is to make bones straight.) Accordingly, an orthodox opinion is straight/in line with or conforms to existing ideas, standards, or beliefs. Alternatively, hetero means “different” (as in a heterogeneous mixture, where there are many different parts). In the same manner, a heterodox opinion differs from, or goes against, existing standards in either thought or behavior.

For example, say that standard for dog behavior is obedience, docility, and the desire to please humans. We could then say that a Labrador usually displays standard or orthodox behavior. But a Shiba Inu is a heterodox kind of dog – one whose behavior is stubborn, wily, and independent-minded.

Example sentences:

“Her heterodox approach to teaching was adored by her students but questioned by her colleagues.”

“The priest had a heterodox opinion on the doctrine of immaculate conception.”