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sacrament

[sak-ruh-muh nt]
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noun
  1. Ecclesiastical. a visible sign of an inward grace, especially one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace: the sacraments of the Protestant churches are baptism and the Lord's Supper; the sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction.
  2. (often initial capital letter) Also called Holy Sacrament. the Eucharist or Lord's Supper.
  3. the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread.
  4. something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance.
  5. a sign, token, or symbol.
  6. an oath; solemn pledge.

Origin of sacrament

1150–1200; Middle English < Medieval Latin sacrāmentum obligation, oath, Late Latin: mystery, rite, equivalent to Latin sacrā(re) to devote + -mentum -ment
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for sacrament

sacrament

noun
  1. an outward sign combined with a prescribed form of words and regarded as conferring some specific grace upon those who receive it. The Protestant sacraments are baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches they are baptism, penance, confirmation, the Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony, and the anointing of the sick (formerly extreme unction)
  2. (often capital) the Eucharist
  3. the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, esp the bread
  4. something regarded as possessing a sacred or mysterious significance
  5. a symbol; pledge

Word Origin

C12: from Church Latin sacrāmentum vow, from Latin sacrāre to 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

Word Origin and History for sacrament

n.

"outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," also "the eucharist," c.1200, from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" (12c., Modern French sacrement) and directly from Latin sacramentum "a consecrating" (also source of Spanish sacramento, German Sakrament, etc.), from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery).

Meaning "a holy mystery" in English is from late 14c. The seven sacraments are baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick (extreme unction).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sacrament in Culture

sacrament

A religious ceremony or rite. Most Christian churches reserve the term for those rites that Jesus himself instituted, but there are disagreements between them on which rites those are. The Lutheran Church, for example, maintains that baptism and Communion are the only sacraments, whereas in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, there are five more: confirmation; confession; anointing of the sick; the ordination of clergy; and the marriage of Christians.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.