des·​e·​crate | \ ˈde-si-ˌkrāt How to pronounce desecrate (audio) \
desecrated; desecrating

Definition of desecrate

transitive verb

1 : to violate the sanctity of : profane desecrate a shrine a cemetery desecrated by vandals
2 : to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously … the kind of shore development … that has desecrated so many waterfronts …— John Fischer

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Other Words from desecrate

desecrater or desecrator \ ˈde-​si-​ˌkrā-​tər How to pronounce desecrator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for desecrate


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Examples of desecrate in a Sentence

The vandals were accused of desecrating graves. vandals desecrated the cemetery last night by covering the tombstones with graffiti
Recent Examples on the Web But some Native Hawaiians believe the project will desecrate sacred land, and demonstrators blocked construction. USA TODAY, "Navajo ‘Baby Shark,’ Stanley Hotel, final ‘Plunge for Pete’: News from around our 50 states," 31 Dec. 2019 But some Native Hawaiians believe the telescope will desecrate sacred land. Washington Post, "Hawaii police to stand down from telescope construction site," 20 Dec. 2019 The Maccabees then sought to cleanse the temple the Syrians had desecrated. The Editorial Board, Orange County Register, "Hanukkah and the light of our many freedoms," 23 Dec. 2019 The protesters say building another would further desecrate the site. NBC News, "Court refuses to halt construction of controversial Hawaii telescope, governor urges calm amid protests," 24 July 2019 Elsewhere in France, a mere week earlier, more than a hundred Jewish graves in a rural cemetery were desecrated. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Behind the Bewildering Recent Incidents of Anti-Semitism," 16 Dec. 2019 Some of the vignettes are creepy and comical, like one with two pig demons guarding a church door while cat demons go about their business of desecrating the altar., "Most read on," 11 Oct. 2019 Unlike Mughal emperor Akbar, who was seen as a moderate king, respecting all religions, or Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal for his queen, Babur simply became the man who desecrated a site of religious importance. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Babur: A carefully constructed villain who replaced Ravan in Hindu nationalists’ mind," 8 Nov. 2019 Protesters have vandalized Ho's office several times and desecrated his parents' graves. Fox News, "Hong Kong lawmaker with pro-Beijing views stabbed by 'fake supporter'," 7 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desecrate.' 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 desecrate

1675, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for desecrate

de- + -secrate (as in consecrate)

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Time Traveler for desecrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of desecrate was in 1675

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Statistics for desecrate

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Desecrate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for desecrate


How to pronounce desecrate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of desecrate

: to damage (a holy place or object) : to treat (a holy place or object) with disrespect


des·​e·​crate | \ ˈde-si-ˌkrāt How to pronounce desecrate (audio) \
desecrated; desecrating

Kids Definition of desecrate

: to treat a sacred place or sacred object shamefully or with great disrespect

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Comments on desecrate

What made you want to look up desecrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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