Definition of sacrament in English:



  • 1(in the Christian Church) a ceremony regarded as imparting spiritual grace, in particular:

    • ‘In the sacraments, the church powerfully bears witness to the Incarnation.’
    • ‘Moral formation involves becoming a follower of Jesus Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit available in the sacraments of the church and the practices of Christian charity.’
    • ‘Christ instituted the Church and the sacraments in order to provide grace.’
    • ‘We are included and sustained in Christ's salvation through the life and sacraments of the Church.’
    • ‘At the same time, as in any congregation, it means tending the physical and spiritual needs of the community through worship, the sacraments, prayer and Christian education.’
    • ‘Christian sacraments and traditions define the rites of passage for most Jamaicans and are celebrated much the same way as they are in the United States.’
    • ‘Baptism, one of the sacraments of the Christian Church, may involve either total submersion, or simply the pouring of baptismal water over the forehead.’
    • ‘He often speaks of the mystery of marriage, the dignity of love in marriage, the grace given by the sacrament, and the responsibilities of a married couple.’
    • ‘Apart from this understanding, the earliest Baptists seem quite self-contradictory; now denying, now affirming sacraments and creeds and church tradition.’
    • ‘It's a marriage in which the couple allows the grace of the sacrament to teach and empower them to love each other unconditionally.’
    • ‘Its claim is that the Holy Spirit makes Christians in and through the church and its sacraments.’
    • ‘The basis of the Christian life is not our longing; it is the ‘visible Church, with sacraments and rites which are channels of invisible grace.’’
    • ‘We are to participate in the life of Christ through the sacraments of the church.’
    • ‘In both these books Gerrish offers a theology that highly values church, preaching and the sacraments and has the great Reformation insights about grace at its core.’
    • ‘The wine also, which through priestly consecration becomes the sacrament of Christ's blood, shows, so far as the surface goes, one thing; inwardly it contains something else.’
    • ‘The liturgy is the sacrament where the church becomes what it is supposed to be.’
    • ‘Devotion to Christ was made possible because the early Church understood how the sacraments effected his continued presence on earth.’
    • ‘In spite of the human weakness of her members, the Church is a sign, a sacrament filled with Christ's presence, an enduring witness to her own divine origin.’
    rite, ritual, ceremonial, observance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) the seven rites of baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination, and matrimony:
      ‘a priest visits regularly to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments’
      ‘some receive the sacrament of reconciliation’
      • ‘Thus baptism became one of the seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic church.’
      • ‘Bishop John Fleming will administer the sacrament of Confirmation in Rathlee Church on Saturday next to seventeen students from Rathlee National School.’
      • ‘He combined a Catholic devotion to the sacraments of the Church with a Pentecostal welcoming of healings, ecstasies and Low Church spontaneity.’
      • ‘He is still a priest although his right to officiate at Church sacraments was revoked by the Bishop of San Bernardino in 1994.’
      • ‘A young woman was accepted as being in a stage of preparation for receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.’
      • ‘The institution of the sacrament of Penance (or ‘confession’) is found in John 20:19-23.’
      • ‘It was within the community of the parish that ordinary people received Christian teaching and the sacraments of the church; baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial.’
      • ‘Out of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic church the Anglican church retained only two: baptism and the Lord's Supper.’
      • ‘I oppose this because of my Christian beliefs in the sacrament of marriage, if we permit this then we take on our heads the responsibility for ultimate collapse of our society.’
      • ‘The Council reaffirmed the sanctity of the seven sacraments, transubstantiation, purgatory, and papal authority.’
      • ‘God grant them the grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders to do the former and shun the latter course.’
      • ‘The relation between the body of Christ which is the holy Eucharist and the body of Christ which is his Church passes through the sacrament of holy orders.’
      • ‘The Pope has been given ‘last rites’ (or rather, the sacrament of anointing the sick).’
      • ‘Clearly, he saw more here than ‘grace’ or the sacrament of baptism.’
      • ‘The seven sacraments - including the sacrament of Holy Orders - are the normative way in which Jesus gives us his life.’
      • ‘Despite all of this scene-setting, none of the plots place Ryan or Clancy's other Catholic characters anywhere near the sacraments or a church.’
      • ‘The pope, who personally administers each of the church's seven sacraments during the course of each year, makes a practice of consecrating bishops on Epiphany.’
      • ‘The Missions of San Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano, and San Luis Rey have built chapels in their hospitals, in order to administer the sacraments there to the sick more conveniently.’
      • ‘They observe seven sacraments: the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.’
      • ‘So do we simply accept the reduction of seven sacraments to six?’
      rite, ritual, ceremony, sacrament, observance, service, usage, institution, practice
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (among Protestants) baptism and the Eucharist.
      • ‘He lists first the Word and then the sacraments as Christ instituted them, according to the Scriptures (Baptism and the Last Supper).’
      • ‘Luther called the Christian sacrament the enacted word; the modern terrorist substitutes the propaganda of deed.’
      • ‘Protestants observe only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, for we find that these are the only two that Jesus commanded to be observed.’
      • ‘The sacraments of baptism and holy communion convert a miscellaneous group of people into the body of Christ.’
      • ‘Thus worship, particularly the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, enables us to experience and understand more deeply the reality of the Incarnation as God present with us now.’
      • ‘Even the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist were redefined as the visible word of God.’
      • ‘The sacraments of baptism and Eucharist are filled with hope because they strengthen and encourage us to look toward the future rather than feel resigned to the past.’
      • ‘Likewise, though baptism and Eucharist are the only two Lutheran sacraments, there is a growing recognition that other acts - in and out of liturgy - can be sacramental.’
      • ‘The sacraments of baptism and holy communion are not only means of grace; they are social rites.’
      • ‘After he returns to his Father in heaven, Christ makes himself available to us through the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist.’
    3. 1.3 (in Catholic use) the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread or Host:
      ‘he heard Mass and received the sacrament’
      • ‘It's viewed somewhat differently in today's Catholicism, and Lutherans and Catholics now agree on ‘the real presence’ of Christ in the sacrament.’
      • ‘The Holy Ghost has made you so holy that you don't need penance or the sacrament?’
      • ‘Instead a Sacramental Test Act was introduced in 1704, which required every person holding civil or military office under the crown to qualify by taking the sacrament in their parish church.’
      • ‘And he would show how the Mass itself could not exist without the contribution of those who worked in wineries and bakeries to make the elements employed in the sacrament.’
      • ‘History offers numerous examples of pious Roman Catholic women who claim to exist on the wine and bread of the Holy Sacrament alone.’
      • ‘Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the Sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.’
      • ‘It is hoped that as many people as possible will visit the Church on the Tuesday of every week and spend some time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament during these hours.’
      • ‘Then a strange quiet descends after the Gregorian chant ‘Tantum Ergo’ as the Blessed Sacrament is laid at the altar of repose.’
      • ‘What do you believe about the Holy Sacrament?’
      • ‘We know him: in our prayer, in the bread and wine of the sacrament, in every gracious word, in smiles of generous welcome and in every moment of joy or beauty that leaves us more whole and human.’
      • ‘The king walked immediately behind the Holy Sacrament, carried by the archbishop of Paris, while the chief royal chaplain held His Majesty's Candle.’
      • ‘At the end of the anniversary Mass, there was a procession with the sacrament to an altar of repose.’
      • ‘Fourteen young boys and girls received the Holy Sacrament for the first time.’
      • ‘Fr. Michael Harrison led with the rosary and the Blessed Sacrament was carried by Fr. John Loftus.’
      • ‘I spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament seeking God's help.’
    4. 1.4 A thing of mysterious and sacred significance; a religious symbol:
      ‘they used peyote as a sacrament’
      • ‘As sacrament of the word of God, Scripture is more than the words on the page.’
      • ‘The whole of creation is a book of symbols or, as some prefer to say, is a sacrament of God.’
      • ‘The fact that he could be both at once is a basic sacrament in the Christian faith and a theme of Scorsese's film.’
      • ‘Sikhs consider the Guru's langar as sacred and its food a sacrament.’
      • ‘Hindu sacraments are solemnized before the homa fire.’
      • ‘Ayahuasca, typically brewed as a tea, is used as a sacrament in Native American religious ceremonies.’
      • ‘In South America the sacred use of the psychedelic ayahuasca has moved from the native populations of the Amazon Basin into the urban centers where it is the central sacrament in their religious praxis.’
      • ‘So they spent a million pounds a year to establish the diamond engagement ring as a sacrament - a spiritual thing.’
      • ‘Created reality is a sacrament, ‘a revelation of the presence of God.’’
      • ‘With these words, we affirm the sacrament of creating sacred space.’


Middle English: from Old French sacrement, from Latin sacramentum solemn oath (from sacrare to hallow, from sacer sacred), used in Christian Latin as a translation of Greek mustērion mystery.