noun \ˈsa-krə-mənt\

: an important Christian ceremony (such as baptism or marriage)

the Sacrament : the bread and wine that are eaten and drunk during the Christian ceremony of Communion

Full Definition of SACRAMENT

a :  a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality
b :  a religious rite or observance comparable to a Christian sacrament
a :  communion 2a
b :  blessed sacrament
:  something likened to a religious sacrament <saw voting as a sacrament of democracy>

Examples of SACRAMENT

  1. They stood in line to receive the Sacrament.


Middle English sacrement, sacrament, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French, from Late Latin sacramentum, from Latin, oath of allegiance, obligation, from sacrare to consecrate
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Christian Religious Terms

Pentateuch, blasphemy, curate, doxology, eremite, iconoclasm, liturgy, orison, pneuma, reliquary


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Religious action or symbol in which spiritual power is believed to be transmitted through material elements or the performance of ritual. The concept is ancient; prehistoric people believed that they could advantageously influence events in the natural world, such as weather patterns, through the performance of ritual. The word sacramentum was used in Roman law and later became an oath of allegiance soldiers swore in a sacred place. The sacrament is primarily associated with Christianity, and Christian theologians as early as St. Augustine focused on the proper definition of sacrament. Among Christians, sacraments are said to derive from practices instituted by Jesus, such as baptism, the washing of the feet, and the casting out of demons. There are seven sacraments of Roman Catholicism, as codified by St. Thomas Aquinas and promulgated by the Council of Trent: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination, and matrimony. The Eastern Orthodox church generally accepts seven sacraments, even though no council accepted by the Orthodox church ever defined the number of sacraments. In most Protestant churches, however, only baptism and the Lord's Supper are recognized as sacraments, as the understanding of sacrament differs from that of the Roman Catholic church. See also samskara.


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