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[des-i-kreyt] /ˈdɛs ɪˌkreɪt/
verb (used with object), desecrated, desecrating.
to divest of sacred or hallowed character or office.
to divert from a sacred to a profane use or purpose.
to treat with sacrilege; profane.
Origin of desecrate
1665-75; de- + -secrate, modeled on consecrate
Related forms
desecrater, desecrator, noun
desecration, noun
nondesecration, noun
undesecrated, adjective
3. defile, violate, dishonor, pollute, outrage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for desecrate
Historical Examples
  • "Come down, I tell thee, and desecrate not this holy place," cried the man wearing the surplice.

    The Coming of the King James Hocking
  • But how long it is to curse the earth, and desecrate his image, he alone foresees.

    No Compromise with Slavery William Lloyd Garrison
  • What other buggy than his own could be found to desecrate this Christian Sabbath?

  • Don't you know that it's a crime to desecrate a cemetery lot?

    Sube Cane Edward Bellamy Partridge
  • It is they, sir, who finance the thugs and repeaters who desecrate our polls.

    The Machine Upton Sinclair
  • Do not neglect it; do not misuse it; before all things do not defile and desecrate it.

    Sermons J. B. Lightfoot
  • They had much better jump over a broomstick like Gypsies and not desecrate our prayer book in such a manner.

  • They did not desecrate the stones because they held them sacred.

    All Things Considered G. K. Chesterton
  • They did their best to desecrate Christmas, and they did it by laying one of the cornerstones of an empire.

  • We have an ideal to maintain, and if we are untrue or fail, we interrupt, we desecrate the everlasting scheme of the universe.

British Dictionary definitions for desecrate


verb (transitive)
to violate or outrage the sacred character of (an object or place) by destructive, blasphemous, or sacrilegious action
to remove the consecration from (a person, object, building, etc); deconsecrate
Derived Forms
desecrator, desecrater, noun
desecration, noun
Word Origin
C17: from de- + consecrate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for desecrate

1670s, formed from de- "do the opposite of" (see de-) + stem of consecrate. Old French had dessacrer "to profane," and there is a similar formation in Italian; but Latin desecrare meant "to make holy," with de- in this case having a completive sense. Related: Desecrated; desecrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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