des·​e·​crate | \ˈde-si-ˌkrāt \
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 \ -​ˌkrā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for desecrate


defile, profane, violate

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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

Fort Lauderdale officers arrived just after Blanc put the hand cart into the dumpster, and found Martine Bernard’s desecrated remains inside the trash can, the report said. Linda Trischitta,, "Killer shot father-in-law in back because he couldn't look in his eyes, cops say," 14 June 2018 When Islamic State captured the Iraqi town of Telskuf four years ago this week, terrorists desecrated the local Chaldean Catholic church and beheaded congregants on the altar. Mark Green, WSJ, "Help Is on the Way for Middle Eastern Christians," 13 June 2018 His own grave is fenced after it was desecrated twice. New York Times, "In Texas, a Decades-Old Hate Crime, Forgiven but Never Forgotten," 9 July 2018 USA TODAY Sports MOSCOW — An England soccer fan was detained by police after being accused of desecrating a cherished Russian statue outside of Spartak Stadium before their team’s round of 16 penalty shootout victory over Colombia on Tuesday. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "England fan vandalizes cherished statue in Moscow," 3 July 2018 In February, a 66-foot-long blue whale carcass was found along the coast of Chile desecrated with graffiti and stomped on by tourists, Fox News had reported. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Blue whale found on California coast died from ship strike, scientists say," 20 June 2018 Former owners placed the legally binding restrictions onto the land over the last several decades, gave up the right to sell it to developers, got tax breaks in return, and gave society oases of green never to be desecrated by human hand. Maria Panaritis,, "A not-so-funny thing about the road from Villanova to Mechanicsburg | Maria Panaritis," 17 June 2018 Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo accused security forces of opening fire on peaceful protesters and desecrating places of worship. Washington Post, "World Digest: Jan. 2, 2018," 2 Jan. 2018 Shoddy imitators proceeded to desecrate the concept of living in the sky. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "The Cities That Never Existed," 17 June 2018

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

The first known use of desecrate was in 1675

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More Definitions for desecrate



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 \
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).


playful or foolish behavior

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