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[seyk] /seɪk/
cause, account, interest, or benefit:
for the sake of all students.
purpose or end:
for the sake of appearances.
Origin of sake1
before 900; Middle English; Old English sacu lawsuit, cause; cognate with German Sache thing, Old Norse sǫk lawsuit; akin to seek
1. regard, consideration, respect. 2. reason.


or saké, saki

[sah-kee] /ˈsɑ ki/
a Japanese fermented, mildly alcoholic beverage made from rice.
1680-90; < Japanese sake(y), earlier *sakai Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sakes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And I wish, for all our sakes, that we had the pitcher here now!

    The Miraculous Pitcher Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • We could not, for their own sakes, have risked bringing them.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • Gustave had to kiss them, and to promise them that he would live for their sakes.

  • How little labour, how little watching, how little pain has he endured for their sakes!

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • Do not delay an instant, but come with me—for both our sakes—for mine—my dear good sir!'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • The daughter of Mr. Anthony begs me to give way a little, if it's only for our own sakes!

    Strife (First Series Plays) John Galsworthy
  • Mind you, I'm not condemning my father; he thought that he was doing the best for both our sakes.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson
  • You have a slight cold and for—all our sakes—you must be careful.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln
  • We'll put them in the engine room, where they'll keep the fires going for their own sakes.

    The House Under the Sea

    Sir Max Pemberton
British Dictionary definitions for sakes


benefit or interest (esp in the phrase for (someone's or one's own) sake)
the purpose of obtaining or achieving (esp in the phrase for the sake of (something))
used in various exclamations of impatience, urgency, etc: for heaven's sake, for pete's sake
Word Origin
C13 (in the phrase for the sake of, probably from legal usage): from Old English sacu lawsuit (hence, a cause); related to Old Norse sok, German Sache matter


a Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice
Word Origin
C17: from Japanese
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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Contemporary definitions for sakes

See rice wine's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for sakes



"purpose," Old English sacu "a cause at law, crime, dispute, guilt," from Proto-Germanic *sako "affair, thing, charge, accusation" (cf. Old Norse sök "charge, lawsuit, effect, cause," Old Frisian seke "strife, dispute, matter, thing," Dutch zaak "lawsuit, cause, sake, thing," German sache "thing, matter, affair, cause"), from PIE root *sag- "to investigate, seek out" (cf. Old English secan, Gothic sokjan "to seek;" see seek).

Much of the word's original meaning has been taken over by case (n.1), cause (n.), and it survives largely in phrases for the sake of (early 13c.) and for _______'s sake (c.1300, originally for God's sake), both probably are from Norse, as these forms have not been found in Old English.



"Japanese rice liquor," 1680s, from Japanese sake, literally "alcohol."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with sakes


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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