[ sak-ruh-lij-uh s, -lee-juh s ]
/ ˌsæk rəˈlɪdʒ əs, -ˈli dʒəs /


pertaining to or involving sacrilege: sacrilegious practices.
guilty of sacrilege: a sacrilegious person.

Nearby words

  1. sacrifice paddock,
  2. sacrificial,
  3. sacrificial anode,
  4. sacrificially,
  5. sacrilege,
  6. sacring,
  7. sacring bell,
  8. sacristan,
  9. sacristy,
  10. sacro-

Origin of sacrilegious

1400–50; late Middle English sacrilegiose; see sacrilege, -ous

Related forms
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sacrilegious

British Dictionary definitions for sacrilegious


/ (ˌsækrɪˈlɪdʒəs) /


of, relating to, or involving sacrilege; impious
guilty of sacrilege
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper