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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sakes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It therefore becomes extremely desirable that my children should, for their own sakes, be sent to a school away from this town.

  • And lastly, he reminded them that God sent grief to them for their own sakes.

    Earl Hubert's Daughter Emily Sarah Holt
  • Where was the use of depriving myself of everything for their sakes?

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • When he has rendered himself poor for our sakes, I cannot send him away.

    Major Frank A. L. G. Bosboom-Toussaint
  • For their sakes, and to rivet still faster their own fetters, they engage in the most corrupting of all employments—and for what?

  • Let me reflect; in the meantime be prudent; for both our sakes, be prudent.

    The Champdoce Mystery Emile Gaboriau
  • And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.'

    The Gospel of St. John Frederick Denison Maurice
  • "I hope, for all our sakes, his motor is an electric one," he said.

    The Motor Pirate George Sidney Paternoster
  • It was also said of him, "Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor."

    Daughters of the Puritans Seth Curtis Beach
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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