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sacred cow

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noun
an individual, organization, institution, etc., considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.
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Origin of sacred cow

First recorded in 1905–10; in reference to the traditional inviolability of the cow among Hindus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use sacred cow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sacred cow

sacred cow

noun
informal a person, institution, custom, etc, unreasonably held to be beyond criticism

Word Origin for sacred cow

alluding to the Hindu belief that cattle are sacred
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

Cultural definitions for sacred cow

sacred cow

Figuratively, anything that is beyond criticism: “That housing project is a real sacred cow: the city council won't hear of abandoning it.” In India, followers of Hinduism consider cows sacred and do not eat them because they believe the animals contain the souls of dead persons.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with sacred cow

sacred cow

A person or thing immune to criticism or questioning, as in The rules governing the press conference have become a sacred cow in this administration. This term alludes to the honored status of cows in Hinduism, where they are a symbol of God's generosity to humankind. It has been used figuratively since about 1900.

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