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 Gowin’s work teaches us how to recuperate some of the beauty lost when nature is desecrated, and how to expand our sphere of intimacy to the land itself. Max Norman, The New Yorker, "Emmet Gowin’s Tender Photography of Nuclear Destruction," 7 Nov. 2019 In the wake of the furore, Ho’s office was ransacked and his parents’ graves desecrated. Time Staff, Time, "Conservative Politician Stabbed in Hong Kong as City Gears Up for Tense Elections," 6 Nov. 2019 In ’87, his tomb was desecrated; his hands were stolen and held for a ransom that was never paid. Los Angeles Times, "All 59 people name-dropped in Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’: Where are they now?," 26 Sep. 2019 Why are native American lands desecrated, their tombs unearthed, and their people still forcibly displaced by white companies in the name of profits? Boniface Mwangi, Quartz, "If Israelis have the right of return, we should extend that right to all native people," 18 Sep. 2019 Once inside the carpeted chambers, where unrepresentative lawmakers dictate Hong Kong’s future, the invading youth moved swiftly to desecrate the emblems of post-colonial power. Time, "'We Are Risking Everything.' Hong Kong's Young Rebels Stake Everything on Their Struggle," 5 July 2019 In the run-up to the 1929 riots, Arab leaders claimed (falsely) that the Jews intended to desecrate al-Aqsa. Douglas J. Feith, National Review, "The Hebron Riots of 1929: Consequences and Lessons," 27 Aug. 2019 Some Native Hawaiians say the project will desecrate sacred land. Washington Post, "The Latest: Native Hawaiian expresses support for telescope," 16 July 2019 Similar telescope projects have desecrated the mountain, and activists place no trust in promises to curtail development. Elaine Ayala,, "Lawsuit over Alamo burial grounds reflects wider ferment," 12 Sep. 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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Statistics for desecrate

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for desecrate

The first known use of desecrate was in 1675

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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

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