[ sak-ruh-lij ]
/ ˈsæk rə lɪdʒ /


the violation or profanation of anything sacred or held sacred.
an instance of this.
the stealing of anything consecrated to the service of God.

Origin of sacrilege

1275–1325; Middle English < Old French < Latin sacrilegium, equivalent to sacri- (combining form of sacrum holy place) + leg(ere) to steal, literally, gather + -ium -ium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sacrilege

British Dictionary definitions for sacrilege


/ (ˈsækrɪlɪdʒ) /


the misuse or desecration of anything regarded as sacred or as worthy of extreme respectto play Mozart's music on a kazoo is sacrilege
the act or an instance of taking anything sacred for secular use
Derived Formssacrilegist (ˌsækrɪˈliːdʒɪst), noun

Word Origin for sacrilege

C13: from Old French sacrilège, from Latin sacrilegium, from sacrilegus temple-robber, from sacra sacred things + legere to take
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

Word Origin and History for sacrilege



c.1300, "crime of stealing what is consecrated to God," from Old French sacrilege (12c.), from Latin sacrilegium "temple robbery, a stealing of sacred things," from sacrilegus "stealer of sacred things," noun use of adjective, from phrase sacrum legere "to steal sacred things," from sacrum "sacred object" (from neuter singular of sacer "sacred;" see sacred) + legere "take, pick up" (see lecture (n.)). Second element is not from religion. Transferred sense of "profanation of anything held sacred" is attested from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper