des·​e·​crate ˈde-si-ˌkrāt How to pronounce desecrate (audio)
desecrated; desecrating

transitive verb

: to violate the sanctity of : profane
desecrate a shrine
a cemetery desecrated by vandals
: to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously
… the kind of shore development … that has desecrated so many waterfronts …John Fischer
desecrater noun
or desecrator

Example Sentences

The vandals were accused of desecrating graves. vandals desecrated the cemetery last night by covering the tombstones with graffiti
Recent Examples on the Web Stewart is sporting a crop top and high-waisted skirt that frame the exact part of her Cronenberg most loves to filmically desecrate. Vulture, 27 May 2022 His ethical governor would be a set of programmed rules to guide robot decision making—for instance, forbidding it to desecrate a cemetery or religious building, so the bot would not fire even if the enemy gathered there. Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 13 Sep. 2010 Later Christian writers saw this as a bid to desecrate the site and erase the memory of Jesus, but scholars dispute that claim. National Geographic, 28 Nov. 2017 After Farnam's arrest, officers found a box containing the relics in his truck along with the dusty sledgehammer and hammer allegedly used to desecrate the altar, according to Subiaco Alley. Peter Charalambous, ABC News, 7 Jan. 2023 For those who aren't aware, November is Movember: that special time of the year when men desecrate their pretty faces in the name of men's health. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 14 Nov. 2012 The Atlanta Police Department plans to desecrate Weelaunee Forest with a new training facility. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2022 No highways, please, to desecrate a War of 1812 site and the birthplace of the National Anthem. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 1 Oct. 2022 Opponents say the quarry would desecrate the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s most sacred site and wildlife habitat. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History


de- + -secrate (as in consecrate)

First Known Use

1675, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of desecrate was in 1675

Dictionary Entries Near desecrate

Cite this Entry

“Desecrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


des·​e·​crate ˈdes-i-ˌkrāt How to pronounce desecrate (audio)
desecrated; desecrating
: to treat a sacred place or sacred object shamefully or with great disrespect
desecrater noun
or desecrator

More from Merriam-Webster on desecrate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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