Definition of sacrilege in US English:



  • Violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred.

    ‘putting ecclesiastical vestments to secular use was considered sacrilege’
    • ‘Rejecting a person begging for protection counted as sacrilege.’
    • ‘This may seem like sacrilege, but take out a ruler and some scissors and - it's okay, you can do it - cut the scarf in half.’
    • ‘The former teen idol stands accused of musical sacrilege.’
    • ‘She could tell he considered such sacrilege a bad omen for their expedition inland.’
    • ‘The four knights tried to drag him outside, to avoid aggravating their sacrilege by defiling the sanctuary.’
    • ‘Intervention by authority was necessary for very serious sins such as adultery, murder, and sacrilege.’
    • ‘The discovery of a sixth-century graveyard also led to a complaint of sacrilege from ultra-Orthodox Jews.’
    • ‘Likening him to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela is sacrilege.’
    • ‘The Jews should have responded to this sacrilege by mourning and distancing themselves.’
    • ‘There's also grilled red onions, but I usually do without those: that's pastrami sacrilege.’
    • ‘If not, come to gawk at a level of sacrilege no other religious culture would even dream of condoning.’
    • ‘For the Actionists, as for the artists cited above, there is no notion of sacrilege or blasphemy.’
    • ‘Some might consider this sacrilege, but the contrast with Shakespeare's play, Othello, is striking.’
    • ‘It is heresy, sacrilege, a pockmark upon the face of our National Pastime!’
    • ‘Renaming the ground KitKat Crescent is sacrilege.’
    • ‘On paper, it does sound like sacrilege for this screen goddess to wear a silly hat, get drunk, and make a public scene.’
    • ‘At the synod a catalogue of John's crimes was presented, ranging from rape to sacrilege.’
    • ‘A beard and a mustache have been added to the face of the devil in the picture, so that the killer is guilty of sacrilege no less than murder.’
    • ‘He was even prepared to utter what would once have been considered sacrilege.’
    • ‘He also stated that to mix the psalms and uninspired hymns together is sacrilege.’
    desecration, profanity, profaneness, profanation, blasphemy, impiety, impiousness, sin, irreverence, irreligion, irreligiousness, godlessness, unholiness, disrespect
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Middle English: via Old French from Latin sacrilegium, from sacrilegus ‘stealer of sacred things’, from sacer, sacr- ‘sacred’ + legere ‘take possession of’.