Definition of blasphemy
- accused of blasphemy
- for a mere man to suggest that he was … divine could only be viewed … as blasphemy
- —John Bright †1889
She was condemned by the church for uttering blasphemies.
in the 17th century the Quakers were persecuted for beliefs and practices that older churches regarded as blasphemies
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blasphemy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Blasphemy came into the English language in the 13th century, and for the first several hundred years of its life had but a single meaning, “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.” By the early 17th century it began to be applied figuratively to irreverence for things held in great respect that were not necessarily divine in nature, as in the phrase, “a blasphemy against friendship.”
Blasphemy shares a root with blame; both words may be traced to the Greek blasphēmein (“to speak ill of, blaspheme"). Despite the fact that these words are connected, they have diverged sufficiently over the centuries that the meanings are now quite distinct.
: great disrespect shown to God or to something holy
: something said or done that is disrespectful to God or to something holy
What made you want to look up blasphemy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).