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Act of offering objects to a divinity, thereby making them holy. The motivation for sacrifice is to perpetuate, intensify, or reestablish a connection between the human and the divine. It is often intended to gain the favour of the god or to placate divine wrath. The term has come to be applied specifically to blood sacrifice, which entails the death or destruction of the thing sacrificed (seehuman sacrifice). The sacrifice of fruits, flowers, or crops (bloodless sacrifice) is more often referred to as an offering.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sacrifice, visit Britannica.com.