- specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.
- dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
- saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.
- having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.
- entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.
- religious: holy rites.
- inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress: The director, when angry, is a holy terror.
- a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary.
Origin of holy
SynonymsSee more synonyms for holy on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for holiest
As a center of Christian antiquity, Mosul is considered by many Middle Eastern Christians to be one of their holiest cities.ISIS Robs Christians Fleeing Its Edict in Mosul: Convert, Leave, or Die
July 22, 2014
The Jobar Synagogue was one of the holiest Jewish sites in Syria and contained priceless historical artifacts.Exclusive Photos: Syria’s Oldest Synagogue, Destroyed by Assad
May 27, 2014
Did the Virgin Mary Warn Rwanda's Holiest Town of the Genocide?The Best of the Beast, April 21-April 27
April 27, 2014
Her whole life and being were dominated by these men—men who thought they were the holiest on earth.How One Sex Abuse Case Tore Apart the Williamsburg Hasidim
August 8, 2013
Survey released ahead of Tisha B'Av also finds Western Wall still considered Judaism's holiest site.Israel Attorney General To Chief Rabbi Hopeful: Explain Your Racism
July 12, 2013
Has he slain what was holiest in him to obtain gifts from Fashion or Mammon?A Dish Of Orts
This Haram-esh-Sherf is the second holiest place in the Moslem world.Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land
Henry Van Dyke
How voluptuous, after all, in its holiest sense, is God's purpose for the pure in heart!St. Cuthbert's
Robert E. Knowles
It is like a soul that has come into the Holiest, where it has God alone.Parables of the Christ-life
I. Lilias Trotter
I say ‘married’ because I regard it as the holiest form of marriage.All Roads Lead to Calvary
Jerome K. Jerome
- of, relating to, or associated with God or a deity; sacred
- endowed or invested with extreme purity or sublimity
- devout, godly, or virtuous
- holier-than-thou offensively sanctimonious or self-righteousa holier-than-thou attitude
- holy terror
- a difficult or frightening person
- Irish informala person who is an active gambler, womanizer, etc
- a sacred place
- the holy (functioning as plural)persons or things invested with holiness
Word Origin and History for holiest
Old English halig "holy, consecrated, sacred, godly," from Proto-Germanic *hailaga- (cf. Old Norse heilagr, Old Frisian helich "holy," Old Saxon helag, Middle Dutch helich, Old High German heilag, German heilig, Gothic hailags "holy"). Adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus.
Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was "that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated," and connected with Old English hal (see health) and Old High German heil "health, happiness, good luck" (source of the German salutation Heil). Holy water was in Old English. Holy has been used as an intensifying word from 1837; used in expletives since 1880s (e.g. holy smoke, 1883, holy mackerel, 1876, holy cow, 1914, holy moly etc.), most of them euphemisms for holy Christ or holy Moses.