sac·ri·fice | \ ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs also -fəs or -ˌfīz \

Definition of sacrifice 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act of offering to a deity something precious especially : the killing of a victim on an altar

2 : something offered in sacrifice

3a : destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else

b : something given up or lost the sacrifices made by parents

4 : loss goods sold at a sacrifice


sacrificed; sacrificing

Definition of sacrifice (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to offer as a sacrifice

2 : to suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief, or end

3 : to sell at a loss

4 : to advance (a base runner) by means of a sacrifice hit

5 : to kill (an animal) as part of a scientific experiment

intransitive verb

1 : to make or perform the rites of a sacrifice

2 : to make a sacrifice hit in baseball

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Other words from sacrifice


sacrificer noun

Synonyms for sacrifice

Synonyms: Noun

immolation, offering, victim

Synonyms: Verb

immolate, offer

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Examples of sacrifice in a Sentence


The war required everyone to make sacrifices. No sacrifice is too great when it comes to her children. He made many personal sacrifices to provide help to the city's homeless people. The war required much sacrifice from everyone. a place where priests performed human sacrifices in ancient rituals The villagers hoped the gods would accept their sacrifice. The goat was offered as a sacrifice. The runner went to second base on a sacrifice.


She's had to sacrifice a lot for her family. He sacrificed his personal life in order to get ahead in his career. I want to follow a diet that is healthful without sacrificing taste. She was able to ask for their help without sacrificing her dignity. She was willing to suffer, sacrifice, and work for success. a place where people were sacrificed in ancient rituals He sacrificed in his first at bat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Honesty that asks no sacrifice lacks truth, honesty at someone else’s expense lacks virtue. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 Lanthimos updates the story — a young man (Barry Keoghan) blames his father’s death on a malpracticing physician (Colin Farrell), and demands the surgeon kill one of his children as a sacrifice. Gary Thompson,, "Think these movies are too gory? The Greek myths they're based on are worse," 12 July 2018 In just under two hours, including one intermission, the clever musical comedy sheds light on each of the successes and sacrifices of the six students who don’t want to disappoint their schools or their parents. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Dunes Summer Theatre stages 'Putnam Spelling Bee'," 11 July 2018 From Zarutskie’s injury to these recent deaths, remember that no snap is worth such a sacrifice. Blake Bakkila,, "A Shark Took a Bite Out of This Instagram Model’s Arm While She Was Posing for a Beach Shot in the Bahamas," 11 July 2018 Yet the continuing level of supplies has amounted to a great sacrifice for Venezuela in recent months, when production dropped from 2 million barrels per day to 1.3 million. Antonio Maria Delgado, miamiherald, "Venezuelans are starving, but the country still sends crude to Cuba," 11 July 2018 Forcing her to continue an unwanted pregnancy just in the hopes of finding a sponsor that has not been found in the past six weeks sacrifices J.D.’s constitutional liberty, autonomy, and personal dignity for no justifiable governmental reason. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Will Kill Roe," 11 July 2018 But with great success comes great sacrifice — something Williams and all working mothers know all too well., "Serena Williams Is The Best At Literally Everything & She Knows It," 8 July 2018 One side of the argument has emphasized that sacrifice can lead to success, and the other pointing out that not everyone even has the option to work without pay. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Are Unpaid Internships Exploitation or Opportunity? Twitter Has Some Opinions," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Image Hindu priests helped protect the turtle by declaring that sacrificing them was not a religious practice. New York Times, "Saving Turtles in Bali, Egg by Precious Egg," 7 July 2018 Izzett is understandably left crying and upset her sister sacrificed herself for Izzett and the ,ingdom, but the character Garvin (Finn Russell) reminds Izzett she's been given a new chance to live, free of the giant. Danny Atkinson, Courant Community, "Epoch Arts Opens Summer Season," 2 July 2018 Take time this Memorial Day weekend to remember the men and women who sacrificed themselves in service to our country. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's where you can celebrate Memorial Day in Milwaukee's west suburbs," 21 May 2018 Any emergency responder who basically sacrifices his or her life in the lne of duty is due the utmost recognition and appreciation from the whole community. Jessica Anderson,, "Det. Sean Suiter, Baltimore officer killed in 1973 to be honored at Fallen Heroes Day event," 3 May 2018 John Boyega stars as Jake Pentecost, the son of the legendary Stacker Pentecost (played by Idris Elba in the first film), who sacrificed himself in the great war against the kaiju. Author: Katie Walsh, Anchorage Daily News, "Review: ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ manages to outpace its predecessor," 21 Mar. 2018 Coming of the bench, Schakel sacrificed himself to take two charges that resulted in fouls and Bulldogs turnovers, and then came the play that defined his desire to do anything to contribute. Tod Leonard,, "SDSU's Schakel happy to find work paying off," 21 Feb. 2018 At the end of that first film, Groot sacrifices himself for the team., "'Black Panther' will be the first Marvel movie to make you cry," 15 Feb. 2018 But sadly, the show was not done killing off beloved oddballs: Joyce Byers's (Winona Ryder) geeky, lovable boyfriend, Bob (Sean Astin), met a grisly death near the end of Season 2, heroically sacrificing himself for the sake of the rest of the gang. Elizabeth Logan, Teen Vogue, "Shannon Purser's Starbucks Barista Agrees That Barb Deserved Better on "Stranger Things"," 8 Feb. 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for sacrifice


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin sacrificium, from sacr-, sacer + facere to make — more at do

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Statistics for sacrifice

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for sacrifice

The first known use of sacrifice was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for sacrifice



English Language Learners Definition of sacrifice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

: an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god

: a person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice



English Language Learners Definition of sacrifice (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give up (something that you want to keep) especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

: to kill (a person or animal) in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god

baseball : to make a sacrifice bunt


sac·ri·fice | \ ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs \

Kids Definition of sacrifice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or ceremony of making an offering to God or a god especially on an altar

2 : something offered as a religious act

3 : an act of giving up something especially for the sake of someone or something else We were happy to make a sacrifice of our time to help a friend in need.

4 : something given up especially for the sake of helping others


sacrificed; sacrificing

Kids Definition of sacrifice (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to offer or kill as a religious act The ancient ritual involved sacrificing an animal.

2 : to give up (something) especially for the sake of something or someone else They sacrificed their lives for their country.

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Comments on sacrifice

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


alleviating pain or harshness

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