Definition of sacred cow in English:

sacred cow


  • An idea, custom, or institution held to be above criticism (with reference to the Hindus' respect for the cow as a holy animal)

    ‘the sacred cow of monetarism’
    ‘the British diet remains a sacred cow’
    • ‘In that case, his leadership was the sacred cow.’
    • ‘‘Family’ tends to be a sacred cow but personally I disagree.’
    • ‘The idea of paying bloggers is a controversial one, as it challenges some of the sacred cows of the journalistic publishing business.’
    • ‘McGruder is the creative genius behind The Boondocks, a five-year-old comic strip that honors no sacred cows and eviscerates politicians of all stripes.’
    • ‘It has consistently tackled the sacred cows of sex, religion and politics with wit, irony and hard criticism leaving behind carcasses of exposed folly and evil.’
    • ‘You have to slay the sacred cows, publicly, in a high-profile way.’
    • ‘Old assumptions are being questioned, sacred cows slaughtered, new ideas floated.’
    • ‘From the Diefenbaker era to the end of the Mulroney years, federal regional development programmes were a sacred cow in Canada, and successive governments rivalled each other in seeking new forms of organization to carry it out.’
    • ‘On another note, the Rocket Prof had better stay anonymous if he's going to take on sacred cows like global warming.’
    • ‘That's unlikely: Taking on such sacred cows would be political suicide.’
    • ‘Selected for screening at the prestigious Raindance Film Festival last year, the film has attracted widespread notoriety for its criticism of one of the sacred cows of development thinking: fair trade.’
    • ‘It will also need a radical rethink of some of our current sacred cows in foreign policy, e.g., the extent to which it is driven by trade.’
    • ‘Another sacred cow is that the market knows best.’
    • ‘It's true that the social institution of the Domestic Violence shelter has become a sacred cow, never to be challenged or disputed.’
    • ‘We need constructive criticism of our most sacred cows.’
    • ‘There's nothing like a little sacred cow bashing to get people to listen!’
    • ‘The ascent of star presenter over stubborn creator will be dissected in the coming weeks, along with the sacred cows of public subsidy and the education industry.’
    • ‘When is a traditional practice a sacred cow, however, and when is it an important cornerstone to safe patient care?’
    • ‘In perioperative nursing, we speak of our sacred cows, which are those ideas and practices so deeply entrenched in what we do that they are impediments to change.’
    • ‘Because the NHS is the sacred cow of British politics - with no party willing to admit that they are prepared to retreat from the central commitment to fund a free service, whatever it costs - we have still not got to the heart of the matter.’
    tradition, practice, usage, observance, way, convention, procedure, ceremony, ritual, ordinance, form, formality, fashion, mode, manner
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sacred cow