Definition of blasphemy
1a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God accused of blasphemyb : 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
Recent Examples of blasphemy from the Web
Ketchup, though blasphemy to some, is obviously a traditional option.
Nothing in this nation could possibly be better, and the very suggestion that something might be better is utter blasphemy.
Everyone had to attend the daily justice sessions, in which the commanders meted out brutal forms of punishment for various infractions, from theft and blasphemy to adultery and insubordination.
Nearly 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) away in Jakarta, his ally Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was spending his first full day in prison on blasphemy charges -- a case that also came as a blow to Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi.
Blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where insulting the Prophet Mohammad is a capital crime for which dozens are sitting on death row.
Police say the lynching of Khan falsely accused of blasphemy was organized a month ahead of time by other students.
His fears were both personal and professional; the book was blasphemy, perhaps, and Levin feared backlash, blacklisting from publishers, or much worse.
In 1971, two employees of public broadcaster DR were acquitted of blasphemy after airing a song mocking Christianity.
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.
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.
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.
Seen and Heard
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