Dictionary.com

holy

[ hoh-lee ]
/ ˈhoʊ li /
Save This Word!

adjective, ho·li·er, ho·li·est.

noun, plural ho·lies.

a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!

Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of holy

First recorded before 900; Middle English holi, Old English hālig, variant of hāleg, equivalent to hāl whole + -eg -y1; cognate with Dutch, German heilig, Old Norse heilagr
1. Holy, sacred, consecrated, hallowed imply possession of a sanctity that is the object of religious veneration. Holy refers to the divine, that which has its sanctity directly from God or is connected with Him: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Something that is sacred, while sometimes accepted as entitled to religious veneration, may have its sanctity from human authority: a sacred oath. Something that is consecrated is specially or formally dedicated to some religious use: a life consecrated to service. Something that is hallowed has been made holy by being worshiped: a hallowed shrine.
holey, holy , wholly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for holy

holy
/ (ˈhəʊlɪ) /

adjective holier or holiest

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
  1. a difficult or frightening person
  2. Irish informal a person who is an active gambler, womanizer, etc

noun plural -lies

  1. a sacred place
  2. the holy (functioning as plural) persons or things invested with holiness
Old English hālig, hǣlig; related to Old Saxon hēlag, Gothic hailags, German heilig; see hallow
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
What's This Word?