sacrilege

noun sac·ri·lege \ ˈsa-krə-lij \
Updated on: 25 Nov 2017

Definition of sacrilege

1 : a technical and not necessarily intrinsically outrageous violation (such as improper reception of a sacrament) of what is sacred because consecrated to God
2 : gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing

sacrilegious

play \ˌsa-krə-ˈli-jəs also -ˈlē-\ adjective

sacrilegiously

adverb

sacrilegiousness

noun

Examples of sacrilege in a Sentence

  1. They accused him of committing a sacrilege.

  2. They accused him of sacrilege.

  3. an act of sacrilege against the church

Recent Examples of sacrilege from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sacrilege.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Why is sacrilegious not spelled sacreligious?

Sacrilegious is often used in reference to religion, or to religious things, so it is easy to see why people might be confused by its spelling. However, sacrilegious and religious are not from the same roots. Religious comes from the Latin word religio (“reverence, religion”), whereas sacrilegious and the related noun sacrilege come from Latin roots meaning “sacred” (sacr-) and “to steal” (legere).

The earliest sense of sacrilege, in use since the beginning of the 14th century, was concerned with the theft, misuse, or desecration of sacred or holy things. It still is used in this sense quite often, but has also taken on a broader meaning, in which it refers to irreverence to a person, place, or thing which may or may not have religious significance.

Origin and Etymology of sacrilege

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin sacrilegium, from sacrilegus one who robs sacred property, from sacr-, sacer + legere to gather, steal — more at legend


SACRILEGE Defined for English Language Learners

sacrilege

noun

Definition of sacrilege for English Language Learners

  • : an act of treating a holy place or object in a way that does not show proper respect



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