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[sak-ruh-lij-uh s, -lee-juh s] /ˌsæk rəˈlɪdʒ əs, -ˈli dʒəs/
pertaining to or involving sacrilege:
sacrilegious practices.
guilty of sacrilege:
a sacrilegious person.
Origin of sacrilegious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English sacrilegiose; see sacrilege, -ous
Related forms
sacrilegiously, adverb
sacrilegiousness, noun
nonsacrilegious, adjective
nonsacrilegiously, adverb
nonsacrilegiousness, noun
pseudosacrilegious, adjective
pseudosacrilegiously, adverb
unsacrilegious, adjective
unsacrilegiously, adverb
unsacrilegiousness, noun
Can be confused
irreligious, sacrilegious, unreligious.
religious, sacrilegious, sacrosanct.
Pronunciation note
The almost universal pronunciation of sacrilegious as
[sak-ruh-lij-uh s] /ˌsæk rəˈlɪdʒ əs/ (Show IPA)
is the result of folk etymology—modifying the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word so that it conforms to a more familiar one—in this case religious. Etymologically, sacrilegious has no direct relationship to religious. The historical pronunciation
[sak-ruh-lee-juh s] /ˌsæk rəˈli dʒəs/
occurs in American English, though not in British English, and criticism of the newer pronunciation has almost disappeared. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sacrilegiously
Historical Examples
  • He fled with a woman to whom he had been sacrilegiously married.

  • To represent the likenesses of the Prophets is to belittle them inevitably and sacrilegiously.

    The Life of Mohammad Etienne Dinet
  • But he regarded me in a shocked manner at the very idea of so sacrilegiously altering the text!

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
  • Shagarach started to raise her, but the terrible detonation of a pistol rung out, sacrilegiously invading their quietude.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • I remember that the Stonehenge plate greatly impressed me and that I sacrilegiously cut it out of the book so as to have it!

    Afoot in England W.H. Hudson
  • Then in great haste he took up paint-pot and brush, and sacrilegiously set himself to work upon Wio-wani's last masterpiece.

    Moonshine & Clover Laurence Housman
  • Then, by order of the twelve wicked Ranees, they sacrilegiously destroyed the little temple.

    Old Deccan Days M. Frere
  • The former of these was sacrilegiously cut down by the order of the Khalif Motawakkil, in the ninth century.

    Cultus Arborum Anonymous
  • And therefore no minister may sacrilegiously alienate himself from God and his undertaken office and work.

    A Christian Directory Baxter Richard
  • One of these trees, of greater size than its companions, was sacrilegiously cut down.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for sacrilegiously


of, relating to, or involving sacrilege; impious
guilty of sacrilege
Derived Forms
sacrilegiously, adverb
sacrilegiousness, noun
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 sacrilegiously



mid-15c., from Latin sacrilegiosum, from sacrilegium (see sacrilege). As a noun, "one who commits a sacrilege," early 14c. Related: Sacrilegiously; sacrilegiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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