[ sak-ruh-fahys ]
See synonyms for: sacrificesacrificedsacrificessacrificing on

  1. the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.

  2. the person, animal, or thing so offered.

  1. the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

  2. the thing so surrendered or devoted.

  3. a loss incurred in selling something below its value.

  4. Also sacrifice hit .Baseball. a batted ball, specifically a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly, that results in the batter being put out at first base while one or more base runners safely advance. Abbreviation: S

verb (used with object),sac·ri·ficed, sac·ri·fic·ing.
  1. to make a sacrifice or offering of.

  2. to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.

  1. to dispose of (goods, property, etc.) regardless of profit.

verb (used without object),sac·ri·ficed, sac·ri·fic·ing.
  1. Baseball. to make a sacrifice hit: He sacrificed in the top of the fourth with a fly ball that brought in the go-ahead run from third base.

  2. to offer or make a sacrifice.

Origin of sacrifice

First recorded in 1225–75; Middle English sacrifice, sacrifis(e), from Old French sacrefise, sacrefice, from Latin sacrificium “offering made to a deity, sacrifice,” equivalent to sacri- (combining form of sacer “holy, sacred”) + -fic-, combining form of facere “to make, build, construct” + -ium noun suffix; see origin at do1; see also -ium

Other words for sacrifice

Other words from sacrifice

  • sac·ri·fice·a·ble, adjective
  • sac·ri·fic·er, noun
  • non·sac·ri·fice, noun
  • non·sac·ri·fic·ing, adjective
  • pre·sac·ri·fice, noun, verb, pre·sac·ri·ficed, pre·sac·ri·fic·ing.
  • su·per·sac·ri·fice, noun, verb (used with object), su·per·sac·ri·ficed, su·per·sac·ri·fic·ing.
  • un·sac·ri·fice·a·ble, adjective
  • un·sac·ri·ficed, adjective
  • un·sac·ri·fic·ing, adjective
  • well-sac·ri·ficed, adjective

Words Nearby sacrifice Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sacrifice in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sacrifice


/ (ˈsækrɪˌfaɪs) /

  1. a surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil

  2. a ritual killing of a person or animal with the intention of propitiating or pleasing a deity

  1. a symbolic offering of something to a deity

  2. the person, animal, or object surrendered, destroyed, killed, or offered

  3. a religious ceremony involving one or more sacrifices

  4. loss entailed by giving up or selling something at less than its value

  5. chess the act or an instance of sacrificing a piece

  1. to make a sacrifice (of); give up, surrender, or destroy (a person, thing, etc)

  2. chess to permit or force one's opponent to capture (a piece) freely, as in playing a combination or gambit: he sacrificed his queen and checkmated his opponent on the next move

Origin of sacrifice

C13: via Old French from Latin sacrificium, from sacer holy + facere to make

Derived forms of sacrifice

  • sacrificeable, adjective
  • sacrificer, noun

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