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
Police say the lynching of Khan falsely accused of blasphemy was organized a month ahead of time by other students.
In 1971, two employees of public broadcaster DR were acquitted of blasphemy after airing a song mocking Christianity.
His Islamist movement rattled the government this year by leading a successful campaign to prosecute on blasphemy charges Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian and an ally of President Joko Widodo’s who until recently was governor of Jakarta.
To belittle or assault God's creatures is thus to be guilty of blasphemy and sacrilege.
Denmark is one of only five countries in the European Union that has a blasphemy law on the books.
The decision stunned many Danes: No one has been convicted of blasphemy in Denmark since 1946, and the country has a long tradition of free speech; burning the flag is not a punishable crime.
Mr. Basuki remains popular with middle-class Jakartans of all ethnicities and has rebounded in the polls since being charged with blasphemy in November.
The blasphemy case has shaken Indonesia’s reputation as a stable, tolerant democracy, following decades of authoritarian rule, as politics in Southeast Asia have taken a tumultuous turn.
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.
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.
Seen and Heard
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