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 bunt
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sacrifice


sacrificer noun

Synonyms for sacrifice

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The journey has come at the sacrifice of one of Susie’s. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Dan Wheldon's sons Sebastian, Oliver, named Andretti Autosport development drivers," 25 Apr. 2021 Washington has long been focused on war and the sacrifice of servicemembers who pay the price for American ideals. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, "On guns and Covid, it's liberty over lives," 17 Apr. 2021 Traumas can evade formal diagnoses, as many veterans grieve the sacrifice of fellow soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan., "Should Massachusetts decriminalize psychedelic plants?," 16 Apr. 2021 With the help of their faith, Muslims in Louisville will embrace the sacrifice of fasting to get closer to God, to deepen one's study of the Quran, to increase efforts of charity and generosity and to identify with the plight of the less fortunate. Andre Toran, The Courier-Journal, "Celebrating Ramadan? Here's what food local Muslims suggest when breaking the day's fast," 8 Apr. 2021 The man known only as ‘B’ is half-mortal and half-god, cursed and compelled to violence … even at the sacrifice of his sanity. Halle Kiefer, Vulture, "Keanu Reeves’s BRZRKR Headed to Netflix As a Live-Action Film and an Anime Series," 23 Mar. 2021 Even the sacrifice of children to parental fears about loss of status seems sadly familiar. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, "Kazuo Ishiguro’s Radiant Robot," 2 Mar. 2021 That was a half-century after the sacrifice of the 369th Regiment, which returned to find segregation intact. New York Times, "African-American Sacrifice in the Killing Fields of France," 28 Feb. 2021 If Allen’s a core piece and future starter -- the sacrifice of a first-round pick and general manager Koby Altman’s recent comments both pointing that way -- then Drummond doesn’t have a definitive spot. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Can Cleveland Cavaliers truly afford to trade Andre Drummond?," 16 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Working people with families and other obligations are not going to be willing to sacrifice additional hours for an on-ground learning experience that comprises passive consumption of information, sitting in a room full of other people. Ann Marie Sastry, Forbes, "The Future Of Work Is Here — We Need To Prepare The Workforce," 15 Apr. 2021 And yet, legislators are willing to sacrifice all of it because of their own hate, ignorance and/or political calculation. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NCAA must make states with anti-trans laws pay with loss of championships," 14 Apr. 2021 What one is willing to sacrifice or commit in a crisis in order to make it to the to the other side, which inevitably awaits, is a central question of Blindness, and one many have encountered in the past year. Christopher Barnard, Town & Country, "How Daryl Roth Masterminded New York Theater's Comeback," 2 Apr. 2021 Individuals join the military for a variety of reasons, but a dominant one is a sense of patriotism, which is undermined if service members believe that senior officers are willing to sacrifice them to trendy political ideas. Mackubin Thomas Owens, National Review, "Slandering the U.S. Military . . . Again," 20 Mar. 2021 The signature Slipstream is a performance cycling shoe that doesn't sacrifice the style and comfort of your favorite pair of sneakers. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, "Mother’s Day Gift Guide: The Most Stylish Accessories," 19 Apr. 2021 Creativity is king, so don’t sacrifice your company at the altar of business management. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, "Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips to Improve Collaboration and Move Your Business Forward," 8 Apr. 2021 Do yourself a favor and grab a pair of these palazzo pants recommended by Noël that won’t sacrifice style for ease of mind. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "30 of our favorite fashion finds under $100 at Nordstrom right now," 2 Apr. 2021 This is ideal for high-impact sports and won’t sacrifice comfort. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Groin Protector," 25 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sacrifice

Time Traveler for sacrifice

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sacrifice

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sacrifice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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
: 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.

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!