Definition of holy in English:



  • 1Dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.

    ‘the Holy Bible’
    ‘the holy month of Ramadan’
    • ‘Friday is the completion of the holy month of Ramadaan.’
    • ‘However, he goes on to suggest that merely because these views are expressed in a religion's holy book, it is not fair to assume that all religious leaders accept them.’
    • ‘Place the letter in a sealed envelope, and put it in the Bible or in the holy book of your spiritual tradition.’
    • ‘An elderly man, presumably seeking to protect the sanctity of this holy site, was shouting after them.’
    • ‘The notion that Jerusalem is holy to all three monotheistic religions of the Middle East is a statement of fact.’
    • ‘His act of praying transforms the cityscape into a sacred space and holy ground.’
    • ‘When a temporary lifting of the curfew was announced in Jenin on the fourth day of the holy month of Ramadan in November 2002, the happiest of all were the children.’
    • ‘They brimmed with religious symbols, holy images and bible stories.’
    • ‘At the same time, we are committed to free access and free practice, to the members of the other two religions, to the holy shrines in Jerusalem.’
    • ‘He put the turban upon his head and set the gold rosette as symbol of holy dedication on the front of the turban as the Lord had commanded him.’
    • ‘It just so happened that my trip coincided with the holy month of Ramadan.’
    • ‘When we act in a holy way, sanctifying His Name and creation itself, then, the Presence of God becomes more accessible to man, and nature stands aside for God.’
    • ‘Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits.’
    • ‘There are two main Muslim holidays: Eid Al-Fitr is a three-day festival at the end of the holy month of fasting, Ramadan.’
    • ‘The day is among the most holy in the religion, a celebration of the birth of Christ, His salvation.’
    • ‘In India, tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims jostled to take holy baths in the sacred River Ganges after performing special prayers for ancestors during the eclipse.’
    • ‘For the holy month culminates in a prescribed annual almsgiving, amounting to a tax on one's wealth and property, to be distributed in the coming year to those in need.’
    • ‘Three of the employees, who are Muslims refused to shave because it was holy month of Ramadan.’
    • ‘Each house and shop set up altars in their doorways or windows with religious statues or holy pictures mixed with fresh flowers.’
    • ‘In the ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holy immortals protecting them.’
    sacred, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified, venerated, revered, reverenced, divine, religious, blessed, blest, dedicated
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) devoted to the service of God.
      ‘saints and holy men’
      • ‘These are people totally dedicated to God, holy ones.’
      • ‘She became a constant visitor to the holy women of White Church’
      • ‘He was a very holy person who had a real interest in people.’
      • ‘From his garb I see that he is a Swami, a Hindu holy man.’
      • ‘Father Joseph was not your average holy man, he had a message - a message still relevant in today's hi-tech world.’
      • ‘Iraq's most influential holy man returned to Najaf today in a bid to make peace.’
      • ‘What do the lives and service of holy women teach us about ordaining women?’
      • ‘It also seems right to think that among such holy people, the broken, addicted, and deceived of our world will see the true way of life with its promise of healing, freedom, and peace.’
      • ‘Surely the pilgrim was innocent, and a most holy man.’
      • ‘The Hindu holy men personally served food, mainly fruits and yogurts, to the guests.’
      • ‘After we were married, she continued to go to church while I stayed home and burned sweet grass and tried to be an Indian holy man.’
      • ‘The holy man quickly surmises the scale of the problem.’
      • ‘Even though he thinks a lot of archaic things, he did dedicate his life to helping people, and I truly believe that he meant to do right in everything he did and that he was in fact a very holy man.’
      • ‘To her he was godlike, noble, excellent, all but holy.’
      • ‘What I want to see are holy bishops who take seriously the spiritual condition of both the victims and the accused.’
      saintly, godly, saintlike, pious, pietistic, religious, devout, god-fearing, spiritual, canonized, beatified, ordained, deified
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Morally and spiritually excellent.
      ‘I do not lead a holy life’
      • ‘At the same time, it opens you to a respect and a reverence in fact, for what is true and holy in other religions.’
      • ‘They were men, holy and angelic in spirit, who preached the word of Allâh in different times and climes and in every land.’
      • ‘As a result my picture hopefully has a holy spiritual quality.’
      • ‘God created every human being to fulfill a purpose that is both holy and productive.’
      • ‘Real prayer isn't about showing how good, holy or spiritual you are.’
      • ‘And within the latter community there are deep divisions, many due to the further attempt to discriminate between those who are or are not holy or Spirit-filled.’
  • 2dated, humorous Used in exclamations of surprise or dismay.

    ‘holy smoke!’
    • ‘And I knew immediately, holy heavens, we are under attack.’
    • ‘So he had to be pretty sharp and he fell in love with a girl who he thought he was going to spend a weekend with, it happened to a lot of people, holy God, he was hooked.’
    • ‘Holy smoke, what will the world come to next???!!!’
    • ‘But holy smoke, are their doughnuts amazing or what?’
    • ‘Now, 8 years later (holy moly where does time go?) I want to utilize the skills and knowledge that I've learned along the way to help others create roots to begin their business doing what they love to do.’


Old English hālig, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German heilig, also to whole.