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

Definition of desecrate

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from desecrate

desecrater or desecrator \ ˈde-​si-​ˌkrā-​tər How to pronounce desecrate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for desecrate


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Examples of desecrate in a Sentence

The vandals were accused of desecrating graves. vandals desecrated the cemetery last night by covering the tombstones with graffiti
Recent Examples on the Web The plan to keep the site a secret is based on concerns about relic hunters and others who might desecrate a war grave, officials said. al, 23 Aug. 2021 Native activists said the plan would contaminate the peaks and desecrate the land held sacred by so many Indigenous peoples and upset the balance of life., 20 Aug. 2021 Joe Biden is the first president to desecrate not only the tenets of Friedman’s economic ideas, but the anti-democratic implications of his entire philosophy. Zachary D. Carter, The New Republic, 17 June 2021 Former Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku is sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to desecrate graves at the cemetery. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, 16 June 2021 The story of Michael Donald's mother Beulah Mae Donald should inspire America to persist in holding accountable those who desecrate and destroy black lives. Cornell William Brooks, CNN, 11 Apr. 2021 The lawsuit argued that the administration failed to adhere to historical treaty boundaries and that the pipeline would affect the water on the reservation and desecrate the land. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, 5 Feb. 2021 However, the new president did speak of the attempt to desecrate democracy, which has yielded more than 100 arrests and charges. Donna Owens, Essence, 21 Jan. 2021 Issac tried not to do anything that would desecrate Shabbos for the rest of the family. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of desecrate

1675, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for desecrate

de- + -secrate (as in consecrate)

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Time Traveler for desecrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of desecrate was in 1675

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Last Updated

27 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Desecrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of desecrate

: to damage (a holy place or object) : to treat (a holy place or object) with disrespect


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

Kids Definition of desecrate

: to treat a sacred place or sacred object shamefully or with great disrespect

More from Merriam-Webster on desecrate

Nglish: Translation of desecrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of desecrate for Arabic Speakers


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