• synonyms


[sak-ruh-lij-uh s, -lee-juh s]
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  1. pertaining to or involving sacrilege: sacrilegious practices.
  2. guilty of sacrilege: a sacrilegious person.
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Origin of sacrilegious

1400–50; late Middle English sacrilegiose; see sacrilege, -ous
Related formssac·ri·le·gious·ly, adverbsac·ri·le·gious·ness, nounnon·sac·ri·le·gious, adjectivenon·sac·ri·le·gious·ly, adverbnon·sac·ri·le·gious·ness, nounpseu·do·sac·ri·le·gious, adjectivepseu·do·sac·ri·le·gious·ly, adverbun·sac·ri·le·gious, adjectiveun·sac·ri·le·gious·ly, adverbun·sac·ri·le·gious·ness, noun
Can be confusedirreligious sacrilegious unreligiousreligious sacrilegious sacrosanct

Pronunciation note

The almost universal pronunciation of sacrilegious as [sak-ruh-lij-uh s] /ˌsæk rəˈlɪdʒ əs/ is the result of folk etymology—modifying the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word so that it conforms to a more familiar one—in this case religious. Etymologically, sacrilegious has no direct relationship to religious. The historical pronunciation [sak-ruh-lee-juh s] /ˌsæk rəˈli dʒəs/ occurs in American English, though not in British English, and criticism of the newer pronunciation has almost disappeared.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sacrilegious


  1. of, relating to, or involving sacrilege; impious
  2. guilty of sacrilege
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Derived Formssacrilegiously, adverbsacrilegiousness, 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

Word Origin and History for sacrilegious


mid-15c., from Latin sacrilegiosum, from sacrilegium (see sacrilege). As a noun, "one who commits a sacrilege," early 14c. Related: Sacrilegiously; sacrilegiousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper