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See more synonyms for desecrate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), des·e·crat·ed, des·e·crat·ing.
  1. to divest of sacred or hallowed character or office.
  2. to divert from a sacred to a profane use or purpose.
  3. to treat with sacrilege; profane.
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Origin of desecrate

1665–75; de- + -secrate, modeled on consecrate
Related formsdes·e·crat·er, des·e·cra·tor, noundes·e·cra·tion, nounnon·des·e·cra·tion, nounun·des·e·crat·ed, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged 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

British Dictionary definitions for desecrate


verb (tr)
  1. to violate or outrage the sacred character of (an object or place) by destructive, blasphemous, or sacrilegious action
  2. to remove the consecration from (a person, object, building, etc); deconsecrate
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Derived Formsdesecrator or desecrater, noundesecration, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper