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sacrilege

[sak-ruh-lij]
See more synonyms for sacrilege on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the violation or profanation of anything sacred or held sacred.
  2. an instance of this.
  3. the stealing of anything consecrated to the service of God.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sacrilege

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was sacrilege to think of changing such old, venerable things.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • They could not, above all, endure this immensity of perjury and sacrilege.

  • We have treated of sacrilege, and of conspiracy, and of treason.

    Laws

    Plato

  • His horror at the sacrilege was so ludicrous that Kendrick laughed aloud.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Look at our sacraments—are they a lie, or are they a sacrilege?

    The Christian

    Hall Caine


British Dictionary definitions for sacrilege

sacrilege

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

Word Origin

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

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper