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noun sac·ri·fice \ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs, also -fəs or -ˌfīz\

Simple Definition of sacrifice

  • : the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

  • : an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god

  • : a person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice

Full Definition of sacrifice

  1. 1 :  an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially :  the killing of a victim on an altar

  2. 2 :  something offered in sacrifice

  3. 3a :  destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something elseb :  something given up or lost <the sacrifices made by parents>

  4. 4 :  loss <goods sold at a sacrifice>

  5. 5 :  sacrifice hit

Examples of sacrifice

  1. The war required everyone to make sacrifices.

  2. No sacrifice is too great when it comes to her children.

  3. He made many personal sacrifices to provide help to the city's homeless people.

  4. The war required much sacrifice from everyone.

  5. a place where priests performed human sacrifices in ancient rituals

  6. The villagers hoped the gods would accept their sacrifice.

  7. The goat was offered as a sacrifice.

  8. The runner went to second base on a sacrifice.

Origin of sacrifice

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin sacrificium, from sacr-, sacer + facere to make — more at do

First Known Use: 13th century

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms



verb sac·ri·fice

Simple Definition of sacrifice

  • : to give up (something that you want to keep) especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

  • : to kill (a person or animal) in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god

  • baseball : to make a sacrifice bunt

Full Definition of sacrifice


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to offer as a sacrifice

  3. 2 :  to suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief, or end

  4. 3 :  to sell at a loss

  5. 4 :  to advance (a base runner) by means of a sacrifice hit

  6. 5 :  to kill (an animal) as part of a scientific experiment

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to make or perform the rites of a sacrifice

  9. 2 :  to make a sacrifice hit in baseball

sac·ri·fic·er noun

Examples of sacrifice

  1. She's had to sacrifice a lot for her family.

  2. He sacrificed his personal life in order to get ahead in his career.

  3. I want to follow a diet that is healthful without sacrificing taste.

  4. She was able to ask for their help without sacrificing her dignity.

  5. She was willing to suffer, sacrifice, and work for success.

  6. a place where people were sacrificed in ancient rituals

  7. He sacrificed in his first at bat.

14th Century

First Known Use of sacrifice

14th century

SACRIFICE Defined for Kids



noun sac·ri·fice \ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs\

Definition of sacrifice

  1. 1 :  the act or ceremony of making an offering to God or a god especially on an altar

  2. 2 :  something offered as a religious act

  3. 3 :  an act of giving up something especially for the sake of someone or something else <We were happy to make a sacrifice of our time to help a friend in need.>

  4. 4 :  something given up especially for the sake of helping others

Word Root of sacrifice

The Latin word sacer, meaning “holy,” and the related word sānctus, also meaning “holy,” give us the roots sacr and sanct. Words from the Latin sacer or sānctus have something to do with holiness. A sanctuary is a holy place. Anything sacred is holy. To sacrifice is to dedicate as a holy offering to a god.



verb sac·ri·fice

Definition of sacrifice


  1. 1 :  to offer or kill as a religious act <The ancient ritual involved sacrificing an animal.>

  2. 2 :  to give up (something) especially for the sake of something or someone else <They sacrificed their lives for their country.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up sacrifice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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