Definition of blasphemy
1a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God <accused of blasphemy>b : the act of claiming the attributes of a deity <for a mere man to suggest that he was … divine could only be viewed … as blasphemy — John Bright †1889>
2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable
Examples of blasphemy in a sentence
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>
The origins of blasphemy
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.
Origin and Etymology of blasphemy
First Known Use: 13th century
BLASPHEMY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of blasphemy for English Language Learners
: great disrespect shown to God or to something holy
: something said or done that is disrespectful to God or to something holy
Legal Definition of blasphemy
: the crime of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God or a religion and its doctrines and writings and especially God as perceived by Christianity and Christian doctrines and writings
Additional Notes on blasphemy
In many states, blasphemy statutes have been repealed as contrary to the First Amendment.
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