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

This extra hand appears to suggest Xipe Totec wearing the flayed skin of a sacrifice. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Archaeologists Discover Temple to Aztec 'Flayed Lord'," 4 Jan. 2019 Jenny Wong, another Christa McAuliffe parent whose son is also going to Stuyvesant in the fall, said his acceptance was the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. New York Times, "Who Wins, and Who Loses, in the Proposed Plan for Elite Schools?," 29 June 2018 South Florida Honor Flight is an organization whose mission is to transport veterans to Washington to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. Craig Davis,, "Marlins pay tribute to military with activities Saturday through July 4," 29 June 2018 All the hard work & sacrifice seemed to finally pay off. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Michael Jackson: Celebrities Tweet Tributes on the 9th Anniversary of The King of Pop's Death," 25 June 2018 Bies says the complete skeletons of the two men will be reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery in recognition of their service and sacrifice. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Newly Unearthed Civil War Bones Speak Silently to the Grim Aftermath of Battle," 20 June 2018 Taguba also successfully helped lobby Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to memorialize the service and sacrifice of the more than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who served during World War II. Chris Fuchs /, NBC News, "A retired major general takes on a new mission: making sure World War II vets get their due," 25 May 2018 The evening of dining and dancing enjoyed by nearly 250 guests was highlighted by the recognition of a dozen military heroes, whose long lists of service and sacrifice repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet. Carol Wolfram,, "Red, White and Blue Masquerade: Military heroes saluted," 12 May 2018 Congress outlined five objectives for National Vietnam Veterans Day — the primary one being to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families on behalf of the nation for their service and sacrifice. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Vietnam veterans to be honored in ceremony at Lincoln National Cemetery," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The four-day holiday of Eid al-Adha celebrates the Prophet Ibrahim and his willingness to sacrifice his son. Julhas Alam, Fox News, "Rohingya refugees celebrate holiday amid memories of home," 22 Aug. 2018 His willingness to sacrifice for his fellow teammates epitomises his excellent leadership capabilities., "James Milner Speaks Out on Twitter After Being Left Out of Liverpool's Home and Away Kit Launch," 13 June 2018 With vegan versions of fur, leather, and wool all in the mix in her wardrobe, Cyrus proves that skipping the authentic materials doesn’t mean sacrificing style. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Miley Cyrus Proves Cruelty-Free Fashion Is Fabulous," 7 Dec. 2018 Running not only meant sacrificing time spent trying to become a mother, but also time spent generating income to support herself and start her family. Julie Zeilinger, Marie Claire, "The Women Who Ran...and Lost," 24 Oct. 2018 To many, Halloween decorating means sacrificing the elegance of your home in the spirit of plastic skeletons and all pumpkin everything. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "20 Halloween Party Ideas So Sophisticated They’ll Scare You," 18 Oct. 2018 Five years and $70 million for Ian Kennedy meant sacrificing long-term financial flexibility for someone else’s free agent. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "The State of the Royals, Part 1 of 2: How did they get here?," 12 July 2018 If that means sacrificing some of the plaza’s current openness, or moving the Cenotaph about 500 feet south, so be it. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Alamo Plaza redesign effort confronts stubborn fear of change," 30 June 2018 Choosing motherhood shouldn’t mean sacrificing a position that has been earned through hard work, talent, and resolve. Sandra Harwitt, USA TODAY, "Serena Williams rewarded with Wimbledon seed, leaving Slovakian questioning fairness," 27 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

14 Jan 2019

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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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).


a complex dispute or argument

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