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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for desecrate
Historical Examples
  • Why should we desecrate noble and beautiful souls by intruding on them?

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • They trusted that the conqueror would not dare to desecrate so holy a place.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • 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?

  • We have watched him and his friend—the dog who has dared to desecrate the name of Precursor.

    The Mystics

    Katherine Cecil Thurston
  • Not the most daring of visitors had ever been known to desecrate that shrine.

    More about Pixie Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • Would the experimental lectures of a Faraday, desecrate the building?

    Church Reform Richard Carlile
  • A member of the Sanhedrim would not desecrate the Passover by making a purchase on it.

    The Christ John Eleazer Remsburg
  • We do not desecrate these principles we entertain by putting them into practice.

    Discourses of Keidansky Bernard G. Richards
  • We will not desecrate the covenant of our God; our heart shall not fail us.

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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