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

And Third Way’s Social Compact for the 21st Century is a truly omnidirectional form of cautiousness that avoids taking on any sacred cows of the left but simply cuts progressive aspirations down to micro size. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Centrist Democrats are out of ideas," 30 July 2018 Everything’s on the table, with no preconceptions and no sacred cows. Thomas Gryta, WSJ, "Q&A: GE CEO Explains Strategy, Smaller HQ," 26 June 2018 Filling the nation’s courts with conservative justices is a unifying principle for the Republican Party and appears to be the one sacred cow that even Trump won’t slaughter. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Watershed Moment in American History," 10 July 2018 Tetris is a sacred cow in the games industry, and only a few major titles have succeeded at iterating on its design; Lumines, which remembers the pleasure of humming the Tetris music and builds a whole game out of that joy, is probably the best. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Lumines Remastered Is the Perfect Summer Gaming Treat," 3 July 2018 In fact, his penchant for pricking sacred cows was matched only by his fondness for distinctive clothing. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88," 15 May 2018 Humor is super important to try and open up dialogue, and sacred cows are always the funniest. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "'Arrested Development' cast on Season 5, harassment and how they (maybe) inspired Trump," 25 May 2018 Before The Doppelgänger is over, no sacred cow is left unslaughtered. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "Steppenwolf’s Doppelgänger doesn’t take its farce seriously enough," 18 Apr. 2018 In a series of speeches over the last few years, Shapiro has debunked sacred cows like safe spaces, micro-aggressions, and the quest for multiculturalism and diversity, and not without risks to his own personal safety. Fox News, "Diamond and Silk react to the Zuckerberg hearing," 12 Apr. 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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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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The first known use of sacred cow was in 1910

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


by force of circumstances

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