sac·​ri·​fice | \ ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs How to pronounce sacrifice (audio) 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

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of sacrifice in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 Mantle got to him for a solo home run in the fourth inning and the Yankees got another run in the sixth on a single by Andy Carey, a sacrifice bunt by Larsen and a single by Hank Bauer. Mike Kupper, Los Angeles Times, "Don Larsen, only pitcher to throw a perfect game in World Series, dies at 90," 1 Jan. 2020 Starks continued: Low-income people, people of color, and people in rural areas either can't get online or are making great sacrifices in order to get connected. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "988 will be the new 911 for suicide prevention—by sometime in 2021," 12 Dec. 2019 But getting the opportunity to produce this groundbreaking research meant having to make some serious sacrifices. Washington Post, "Don’t miss these five displays at the National Geographic’s Jane Goodall exhibition," 4 Dec. 2019 Verlander issued a walk to Victor Robles, finishing his night, and after reliever Ryan Pressly issued a walk and got a sacrifice bunt, the great Juan Soto loomed at the plate. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Nationals crush Astros in Game 2 to take commanding World Series lead," 24 Oct. 2019 In the 10th, Reds pinch-hitter Ed Armbrister attempted a sacrifice bunt and bounced the ball in front of the plate. Paul Montella, San Diego Union-Tribune, "This Date in Baseball," 13 Oct. 2019 But it wasn’t tied for long, as Wilkerson doubled, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Martin, and scored on a single by Hanser Alberto. Jon Meoli,, "Orioles find another way to lose, falling to Mariners, 7-6, in 13 innings," 22 Sep. 2019 In the bottom of the first inning, Posey laid down the first sacrifice bunt of his career. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Former Giants prospect beats old team in front of smallest Oracle Park crowd since 2010," 9 Sep. 2019 The Sox pushed the margin back to two when Welington Castillo doubled, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Yolmer Sanchez’s bunt single. Joe Reedy,, "James McCann hits another grand slam and Lucas Giolito strikes out 11 to lead the White Sox past the Angels 7-2," 17 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 2009 Colts sacrificed the opportunity to be the first team in NFL history to go 19-0. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "10 years ago, Colts gave up a chance for a perfect season. What players say about it now.," 12 Jan. 2020 Importantly, both Alcott and Gerwig have understood that in love, men must change and sacrifice as well. John Matteson, The Atlantic, "One Way the New Little Women Film Is Radical," 1 Jan. 2020 Even the more humdrum livestock sacrificed at the site point to Navan Fort’s significance. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "People Trekked Across Ireland to Eat Pork at This Ancient Site," 31 Dec. 2019 Some came home on foot, others draped in the nation’s flag – sacrificed for a higher purpose. Christopher Harress |, al, "How a statue defined a town and remembered an American hero," 21 Dec. 2019 After Ben saves her life by sacrificing his own and the war ends, Rey returns to the Lars family homestead on Tatooine, where Luke was raised by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Lauren Morgan,, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 21 Dec. 2019 Yes, even if that means sacrificing some of his own offense. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Darius Garland still trying to find best way to fit alongside Cleveland Cavaliers starters," 18 Dec. 2019 Prosecutors and a Broward judge are rushing the Parkland school shooting case to trial next month for political reasons, sacrificing the shooter’s constitutional rights in the process, according to his lawyers. Rafael Olmeda,, "Parkland shooter’s lawyers say case is being rushed for political reasons," 10 Dec. 2019 Without the funds, Assistant Sheriff Matthew Schuler said, street patrols across the county would be sacrificed. Jason Pohl, ProPublica, "California Gave Billions in Taxpayer Dollars to Improve Jails. But That’s Not How These Sheriffs Are Spending It.," 28 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for sacrifice

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sacrifice

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sacrifice.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sacrifice


How to pronounce sacrifice (audio)

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
: to make a sacrifice bunt


sac·​ri·​fice | \ ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs How to pronounce sacrifice (audio) \

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

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