Definition of sacred in US English:



  • 1Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

    ‘sacred rites’
    ‘the site at Eleusis is sacred to Demeter’
    • ‘It was the Holy number, sacred to the Great Goddess Favirnia.’
    • ‘It depicted the five sacred mountains of Taoism in sort of symbolic form, with the five peaks at the top.’
    • ‘Indeed, every cooking bowl in Jerusalem and throughout Judah would be sacred to God.’
    • ‘The Hindu marriage is solemnised before the sacred fire.’
    • ‘Burying rites mark the beginnings of all sacred rites, as burying places mark special rights to the land: the civilizing influence of the dead.’
    • ‘In the operating room, while An was under anesthesia, Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield conducted the sacred rite.’
    • ‘When he was in Hesse he approached the town of Geismar and came upon a oak tree sacred to Thor, the German god of thunder.’
    • ‘It is a work dedicated essentially to the greatness of the god Viu and is, therefore, particularly sacred to Vaiavas, worshippers of Viu.’
    • ‘We mark that this day was sacred to the goddess Venus, to whom the Phoenicians consecrated the fish.’
    • ‘As the woman I quoted at the beginning of this paragraph put it, the pilgrim's journey is distinguished by its sacred purpose.’
    • ‘The heron is sacred to the Muses and is related to priesthood.’
    • ‘In general it appears that the animal aspects of the Egyptian deities were intended to reflect something about the nature of the deity, and that the associated animals became sacred to them by proxy.’
    • ‘The church, a conciliar, sacred communion, accepts and sanctifies the icon.’
    • ‘And so it would be quite normal for a person to visit both - to go and see the high priest or priestess at the sacred house, and to go and see the Roman Catholic priest at the church.’
    • ‘On a cold, damp winter day in central Maryland, U.S., a beautiful wooded hillside was transformed into a sacred grove, hallowed ground.’
    • ‘Twilight is sacred to Shiva, as the transition point between sun and moon.’
    • ‘If it matters, horses are also sacred to Poseidon.’
    • ‘Statues may contain healing herbs, sacred objects, precious stones or jewels, or other offerings.’
    • ‘I read in my book that in ancient Greece ivy was sacred to Dionysus, the Olympian vintner who was one of the gods.’
    • ‘The laity could only stand and watch from the nave while the sacred rites were being performed.’
    holy, hallowed, blessed, blest, consecrated, sanctified, dedicated, venerated, revered
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    1. 1.1 Religious rather than secular.
      ‘sacred music’
      • ‘And, like Rushdie, Kureishi is also asserting the parity of sacred and secular forms of storytelling.’
      • ‘They took place in the context of a gift economy linking the sacred to the profane through debt and obligation, not yet monetary and market-oriented.’
      • ‘It seemed to fit comfortably within its surroundings, which included numerous sacred and secular objects.’
      • ‘The museum itself has been designed to merge with the local architecture and contains artifacts that are both sacred and secular.’
      • ‘At such moments, our distinctions between sacred and secular, our demarcations of time, place and identity, are briefly but intensely shaken.’
      • ‘The Anglican Archdeacon of London, who is closely involved with ecclesiastical planning, says any modern church has to balance sacred and secular needs.’
      • ‘Music, sacred or secular, was one of his greatest pleasures.’
      • ‘The master plan of this rural campus creates a distinctive sense of place for both sacred and secular functions of the parish.’
      • ‘The choir's repertoire includes sacred and secular music ranging from the 16th century to the present day and in a wide range of musical styles and languages.’
      • ‘Mouridism links all secular and sacred activities.’
      • ‘Flemish and Netherlandish art deeply impressed Cassatt during her student years and provided many of her enduring themes, secular as well as sacred.’
      • ‘It is not the domestication of the sacred or the religious of which I speak, but of the divine.’
      • ‘Whenever we come together in celebration - sacred or secular - we bring into focus a vortex of energy that renews both us and the place.’
      • ‘The sacred and secular stories of South Asian music propel it along the path of diaspora.’
      • ‘The special advent choral concert will be conducted by Peter Frost and includes sacred and secular music from early and modern composers.’
      • ‘In my spiritual community of Bayit Chadash in the hills around Israel's Sea of Galilee, we are committed to reclaiming the spark of sacred paganism.’
      • ‘Often there is a fine line between the sacred and the secular.’
      • ‘Personally, I prefer the mix of the secular and the sacred.’
      • ‘With these cautionary statements in mind, we can consider whether from a spiritual point of view, it is possible to argue for a distinction between the sacred and secular realms of life.’
      • ‘Faith is faith; the secular law affects the sacred not at all (and vice versa, we might add).’
      religious, spiritual, devotional, church, churchly, ecclesiastical
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    2. 1.2 (of writing or text) embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion.
      ‘a sacred Hindu text’
      • ‘Small children were reciting the Gayatri Mantra and other Sanskrit verses sacred to Hindus.’
      • ‘Judaism is the official Israeli religion, and the Torah is the most sacred text.’
      • ‘When they hear the sacred texts of the church, Papuans see a better future’
      • ‘Let me summarize the essential points of the sacred dharma.’
      • ‘Vases with flowers, candles, books of sacred texts, and a crucifix are also positioned on the altar.’
      • ‘The issue hinges not on the authority of Scripture but on differing interpretations of sacred texts.’
      • ‘In every religion or ideology radicalization of sacred texts has long existed.’
      • ‘States have constitutions, political parties their manifestos and religions have sacred texts to guide their policies and action from time to time.’
      • ‘Their story is told in sacred writings of the biblical period, although the two books of the same name are not officially a part of either testament.’
      • ‘Their contact with the outside world is limited to the annual festivals to which the public is invited, and the reading of sacred texts at funerals.’
      • ‘The symbols of world religions and quotes from their sacred books that adorn the walls of the mandapam will greatly promote religious tolerance and unity.’
      • ‘He said: ‘Her love and respect for the beauty and power of the sacred texts read at the Advent Carol Service shone brightly each time’.’
      • ‘I'm absolutely sure about that and it's in all the literature in the ancient, sacred writings of all religions.’
      • ‘Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts silently or aloud, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on the meaning that the words bring to mind.’
      • ‘For instance, the sacred texts of many religions offer compelling narratives which, at their best, can promote ethical reflection and a sense of shared experience.’
      • ‘This is because religions are much more than their originating sacred texts.’
      • ‘Can mathematics define us more truly than the sacred texts of the world's faiths?’
      • ‘But when technology made books widely available, men could read the sacred texts for themselves and form their own opinions.’
      • ‘The ‘Enlightenment’ is a powerful myth about origins, much like the stories in the Bible and other sacred texts.’
      • ‘The most sacred text of the religion, and the most authoritative text of the culture, was the Koran.’
    3. 1.3 Regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual.
      ‘an animal sacred to Mexican culture’
      • ‘As said above, human and animal life is regarded as sacred.’
      • ‘Situated on an elevated rock outcropping 15 km from Kurdjali, it has been regarded as a sacred site for thousands of years.’
      • ‘Cows are regarded as sacred animals in my religion.’
      • ‘This includes the Temple Mount, the area where Jewish temples stood in biblical times and which is regarded as the most sacred area in Judaism.’
      • ‘Then we continued on to the Blue Lake, where eating and drinking would trample Maori sensitivities, since they regard it as a sacred spot.’
      • ‘Women are widely regarded as sacred throughout Native America.’
      • ‘Many ancient churches and cathedrals in the British Isles, for example, are built on sites that were originally sacred to pagans.’
      • ‘When the evangelisation of Ireland began in the fifth century St. Patrick and his contemporaries pragmatically accepted the indigenous respect for sacred wells.’
      • ‘Sumo is considered sacred to the Shinto religion and wrestlers are seen as the embodiment of strength, endurance and honesty.’
      • ‘Across all civilisations, the place of rest has always been sacred so please respect it.’
      • ‘In going to Lisieux recently, I fulfilled a desire (long and vaguely felt) to visit the home of a saint sacred to my family.’
      • ‘One of the things I dislike very much is when they begin to tear down that which is sacred to others.’
      • ‘The pilgrimage journey is the umbilical cord which connects them with a sacred place, and making the journey is a means of bodily enacting their spiritual identity.’
      • ‘My father never, ever went to Duranbah cemetery so there's nothing of him there, but this is where he died and it's pretty sacred to our family.’
      • ‘A rare ritual burial of four horses has been discovered in an area experts regard as a sacred landscape surrounding one of the most important prehistoric sites in the North of England.’
      • ‘Sumacs are regarded as sacred trees by the North American Indians, who make medicines from many parts of the plant.’
      • ‘Everyone should respect whatever is held sacred by any other individual.’
      • ‘The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none.’
      • ‘These lingams come only from the Narmada River, high in the mountains of Mandhata, one of the 7 sacred holy places of pilgrimage in India.’
      • ‘Dominant is the Temple Mount, steeped in religious history and sacred to both Jews and Muslims.’
      holy, consecrated, sanctified, blessed, blest
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    4. 1.4 Sacrosanct.
      ‘a profit-oriented public to whom nothing is sacred’
      • ‘However, as Aristotle says, ‘It is sacred to honor truth above friendship.’’
      • ‘I should have never let my father interfere with our sacred bond.’
      • ‘He doesn't allow anyone to photocopy a single page of his sacred text.’
      • ‘However, if life is seen as something valuable and sacred, to destroy an embryo is unethical and morally wrong.’
      • ‘Extreme cases come from martyrs who choose death rather than violate principles which are sacred to them.’
      • ‘Limits upon personal freedom and choice are an affront to all that is sacred to the American Religion.’
      sacrosanct, inviolable, inviolate, unimpeachable, invulnerable, untouchable, inalienable, protected, defended, secure, safe, unthreatened
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Late Middle English: past participle of archaic sacre ‘consecrate’, from Old French sacrer, from Latin sacrare, from sacer, sacr- ‘holy’.