[ sak-ruh-fish-uhl ]
/ ˌsæk rəˈfɪʃ əl /
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pertaining to or concerned with sacrifice.
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Origin of sacrificial

1600–10; <Latin sacrifici(um) sacrifice + -al1

OTHER WORDS FROM sacrificial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does sacrificial mean?

Sacrificial is used to describe things that involve a sacrifice—something important or precious that is given up for the sake of gaining something or allowing something to happen that is considered more important.

The thing being sacrificed can be tangible, like a valued object, or intangible, like time or health, as in, I would never sacrifice my health just to make more money.

The words sacrifice and sacrificial are often used in the context of religious offerings. Such a sacrifice might be an animal that is killed and offered to a god or gods.

The term sacrificial lamb is a reference to such religious sacrifices and is often used in a metaphorical way to refer to someone who is sacrificed in some way for the benefit of others. The term is often used in overlapping ways with the word scapegoat.

Example: Archaeologists think the site was once used for sacrificial rituals.

Where does sacrificial come from?

The first records of the word sacrificial come from the 1600s. The suffix -al makes it an adjective form of sacrifice, which comes from the Latin sacrificium, from sacer, meaning “holy,” and facere, meaning “to make.” The root sacer is also the basis for words like sacred and sacrilege.

Sacrifice is commonly used outside of religious contexts. Sacrificial can also be used in general ways, but it is perhaps most closely associated with its religious uses. The central figure of Christianity, Jesus, is viewed by Christians as a sacrificial figure who served as a sacrifice for the sake of human salvation.

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What are some other forms related to sacrificial?

  • sacrificially (adverb)
  • sacrifice (noun, verb)

What are some words that share a root or word element with sacrificial

What are some words that often get used in discussing sacrificial?

How is sacrificial used in real life?

The word sacrificial can be used in many different contexts. It is closely associated with religious uses.

Try using sacrificial!

Is sacrificial used correctly in the following sentence?

The move is widely seen as sacrificial—he is giving up some of his holdings in order to make gains elsewhere.

How to use sacrificial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sacrificial

/ (ˌsækrɪˈfɪʃəl) /

used in or connected with a sacrifice

Derived forms of sacrificial

sacrificially, adverb
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