sacrosanct

adjective

sac·​ro·​sanct ˈsa-krō-ˌsaŋ(k)t How to pronounce sacrosanct (audio)
1
: most sacred or holy : inviolable
2
: treated as if holy : immune from criticism or violation
politically sacrosanct programs
sacrosanctity noun

Did you know?

Contrary to the beliefs of some, language is not sacrosanct; rather, it is subject to constant modification based on the needs, experiences, and even whims of those who use it. Take the word sacrosanct itself, which likely comes from the Latin phrase sacro sanctus meaning “made holy by a sacred rite.” There’s a definite semantic softening from that to the “too important and respected to be changed or criticized” meaning of sacrosanct. But holy moly, has sanctus led to a whole bunch of other English words with truly pious flavor, from saint and sanctimony to sanctify and sanctuary. Sacrum (“a sacred rite”), whence came the sacro in sacro sanctus, is no slouch either, living on in English anatomy as the name for our pelvic vertebrae—a shortening of os sacrum, which literally means “holy bone.”

Examples of sacrosanct in a Sentence

the government's most sacrosanct institutions The tradition is regarded as sacrosanct.
Recent Examples on the Web One viewpoint is that this is an unwanted and atrocious intrusion into the sacrosanct doctor-patient relationship. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 This story became concrete and sacrosanct in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2024 They are regarded as sacrosanct values and part of Indonesia’s national identity that no political leaders can easily set aside. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Foreign Affairs, 12 Feb. 2024 Iowa and New Hampshire have long viewed their events as sacrosanct — although Democrats have threatened their status recently — while South Carolina's primary has been a regular cog in the early part of the GOP calendar since 1980 and for Democrats dating back to 2008. Geoffrey Skelley, ABC News, 5 Feb. 2024 For the first time, the idea of a sacrosanct monarchy and a king shielded from public scrutiny was openly challenged by a new generation of young Thais. Helen Regan, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred. Elizabeth Pritchett, Fox News, 18 Jan. 2024 The result is a disorienting frenzy of facts and falsehoods swirling around issues once considered sacrosanct in public life. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, 13 Jan. 2024 For fans of the 2004 film, which for many is a perfect, inviolable, almost sacrosanct thing, this means that this will be, every once in a while, redundant. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sacrosanct.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin sacrosanctus, probably from sacro sanctus hallowed by a sacred rite

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sacrosanct was in 1601

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Cite this Entry

“Sacrosanct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sacrosanct. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

sacrosanct

adjective
sac·​ro·​sanct ˈsak-rō-ˌsaŋ(k)t How to pronounce sacrosanct (audio)
: most sacred, holy, or respected : inviolable
sacrosanctity noun

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