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

Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin. Ed Stetzer, Vox, "Fellow evangelicals: stop falling for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric," 6 Nov. 2018 There are sacrifices in presentation, particularly in the city and diplomatic views, but under the hood, this is the Civilization VI that has driven so many gamers' binges on personal computers and the iPad. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Review: Civilization VI on the iPhone is the full experience," 4 Oct. 2018 The redevelopment of Melreese would be a small sacrifice to the overall public good. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Let voters decide! Why Beckham group's soccer stadium plan deserves to be on ballot," 9 July 2018 He was moved over with a sacrifice bunt and LSU sophomore commit Tre' Morgan drew a walk in the next at-bat. Jim Derry,, "Re-live the top plays from a zany St. Paul's-Jesuit 12-inning thriller," 6 May 2018 The materials feel a little flimsier, and the pop up is less satisfying, but for many people, those are sacrifices worth making to save $40. Andrew Goble, GQ, "The Best Umbrellas Are Tough Enough for Downpours and Cheap Enough to Lose Without Crying," 2 May 2018 Those were all sacrifices made for the benefit of his kids. Gabriel Thompson, Longreads, "Coachella, Underground," 12 Apr. 2018 Kaptain said, noting the struggles, studying and sacrifices immigrants had to make to become citizens. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin-area's newest American citizens celebrated at council meeting," 28 June 2018 These sacrifices also include sitting on a chair like a normal human. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Forgot Her "Duchess Slant"—Then Saved It at the Last Minute," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

San Antonio stands at a pivotal point, challenged to expand its economy without sacrificing its character or the potential for greater equity. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "San Antonio, the nation’s fastest-growing city, sees downtown rebound," 23 Oct. 2018 Unlike the original, which is ultra, ultra thick and emollient, this new rendition sinks into skin almost instantly and does so without sacrificing the calming and glow-giving abilities of its counterpart. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Exclusive: Weleda Created an Entire Collection of Skin Food Products," 22 Oct. 2018 Mauna Kea has maintained its sense of glamour, thanks in part to a 2008 renovation that gave the resort an update without sacrificing its throwback charm. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Resorts in Hawaii: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Monnig said their system will now allow for crypto mining to take place anywhere in the world without sacrificing productivity. Madeleine Rivera, Fox News, "Large-scale crypto mining operation launched in Lone Star State," 20 Aug. 2018 Here’s how to plan your free time without sacrificing fun. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "How to Have the Most Fun in Your Free Time, According to Science," 6 July 2018 But Hicks prefers a two-seamer (also known as a sinker), which gives him that natural tailing action without sacrificing velocity. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "From High School Outfielder to Cardinals Flamethrower," 23 June 2018 Someone retiring today, Hecht said, likely intends to make their money last 20 years or more without sacrificing their lifestyle. Bill Zimmerman,, "Stocks are down, bonds are up. Is it time to switch?," 22 June 2018 Hakansson and associate Jaye Gordon created a room that has a fun, comfortable vibe without sacrificing function. Marni Elyse Katz,, "A bright, new homework room to keep the kids on track," 22 June 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

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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