blasphemy

noun
blas·​phe·​my | \ ˈblas-fə-mē How to pronounce blasphemy (audio) \
plural blasphemies

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

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Frequently Asked Questions About blasphemy

What is the difference between blasphemy and heresy?

Blasphemy, in a religious sense, refers to great disrespect shown to God or to something holy, or to something said or done that shows this kind of disrespect; heresy refers a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion. Both words are also sometimes used in general, not necessarily religious, contexts.

What is the verb form of blasphemy?

The verb form of blasphemy is blaspheme, as in "those who blaspheme God." It comes to English from the Late Latin word blasphemare.

Does blasphemy have to be spoken?

Although in certain senses of the word it may be more common to use blasphemy in reference to speech, it may also be applied to writing. The word has broadened in meaning beyond "the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God"; it is now also used with the meaning "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
Recent Examples on the Web The Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Iran were established ostensibly to combat foreign threats and push back against efforts to overthrow the government, dealing with allegations of espionage, smuggling, blasphemy, and fomenting revolution. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Judge finds Iran responsible for Robert Levinson’s kidnapping in $1.5B lawsuit," 9 Mar. 2020 On Friday, reports emerged that the Scottish Parliament had introduced a bill decriminalizing blasphemy. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Scotland Swaps One Blasphemy Law for Another," 29 Apr. 2020 But look closer: The new bill does not simply repeal the dormant blasphemy law, as reports suggest. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Scotland Swaps One Blasphemy Law for Another," 29 Apr. 2020 To modern ears, of course, to say that Christ went to hell sounds like blasphemy. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "The Eternal Debate over the Nature of Hell," 12 Sep. 2019 If the Almighty had decided that someone would be smitten by smallpox, then any attempt to subvert this divine intention was blasphemy. The Economist, "The original anti-vaxxers," 30 Aug. 2019 The charge: blasphemy, specifically insulting Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. Washington Post, "Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries," 20 Feb. 2020 Iran’s Revolutionary Court typically handles espionage cases and others involving smuggling, blasphemy, and attempts to overthrow its Islamic government. BostonGlobe.com, "‘‘It is normal that a case is opened like it’s done for any missing people anywhere in Iran,’’ Mousavi said.," 11 Nov. 2019 After all, a film without Carson managing the downstairs is akin to blasphemy in the Downton Abbey universe. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Mr. Carson Was Always the True Father-Figure of Downton Abbey," 26 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of blasphemy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for blasphemy

see blaspheme

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Time Traveler for blasphemy

Time Traveler

The first known use of blasphemy was in the 13th century

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Statistics for blasphemy

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Blasphemy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blasphemy. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for blasphemy

blasphemy

noun
How to pronounce blasphemy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of blasphemy

: great disrespect shown to God or to something holy
: something said or done that is disrespectful to God or to something holy

blasphemy

noun
blas·​phe·​my | \ ˈblas-fə-mē How to pronounce blasphemy (audio) \
plural blasphemies

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

Note: In many states, blasphemy statutes have been repealed as contrary to the First Amendment.

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