sacred cow


Definition of sacred cow

: one that is often unreasonably immune from criticism or opposition

Examples of sacred cow in a Sentence

The old government program has become a sacred cow.
Recent Examples on the Web Policymakers should be more ambitious to hold spectrum auctions, but that implicates national security concerns from the Department of Defense (DoD), the sacred cow of spectrum policy which grazes on two-thirds of America’s radio waves. Roslyn Layton, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 Boxes and packing materials, almost a sacred cow, were removed from stores in 2017. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, 24 Dec. 2020 Police unions are no longer a political sacred cow, not even for Republicans. Shikha Dalmia, TheWeek, 2 July 2020 The sacred cows of health care are no longer looking so sacred, and the right health care companies and venture investors will recognize this opportunity and maximize their ability to do well by doing good. Eric M. Stone, STAT, 5 June 2020 Without a doubt, even a temporary halt to MAX production makes this sacred cow all the more expensive to deliver to shareholders. Erik Sherman, Fortune, 18 Dec. 2019 Soleil Ho and The Chronicle’s Food team tried new restaurants, reconsidered sacred cows with fresh eyes and rekindled their love for old favorites to build this year’s Top 100 list. Taylor Kate Brown,, 1 Jan. 2020 Any conglomerate could benefit from having a CEO for whom there are no sacred cows. Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2019 Hopefully, future installments will learn the lessons of The Last Jedi and start to reflect that by taking some risks, leaving this familiar storyline behind, killing some sacred cows, and trying something new. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, 27 Nov. 2018

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

1910, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sacred cow

from the veneration of the cow by Hindus

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Time Traveler for sacred cow

Time Traveler

The first known use of sacred cow was in 1910

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Dictionary Entries Near sacred cow

sacred bo tree

sacred cow

sacred ear

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Statistics for sacred cow

Last Updated

12 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sacred cow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for sacred cow

sacred cow


English Language Learners Definition of sacred cow

: someone or something that has been accepted or respected for a long time and that people are afraid or unwilling to criticize or question


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