Definition of shrine in US English:



  • 1A place regarded as holy because of its associations with a divinity or a sacred person or relic, marked by a building or other construction.

    • ‘The holy shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are closed for six months a year due to inclement weather and extreme cold.’
    • ‘Securing awe and applaud from people standing on both sides of the road, the procession moved on to the holy shrine carrying the shawls with utmost respect.’
    • ‘Many of my friends who are non-Muslims wonder why they are not allowed to visit Makkah and Madinah during Hajj while Muslims are allowed to visit their holy cities and shrines.’
    • ‘Buddhists frequently have personal shrines or altars in their homes.’
    • ‘Shinto shrines and rituals were at first local and agricultural in nature, but eventually they became associated with larger entities, including clans and the nation itself.’
    • ‘In 1925, Prince Adbul Aziz ibn Saud conquered the Hijaz, which included the two holiest Muslim shrines of Medina and Mecca, previously controlled by direct descendants of Mohammed.’
    • ‘It was replaced by the older form, shrine Shinto, the worship of kami in shrines or sanctuaries, tended by priests.’
    • ‘The government mounted a new Operation in May 1988 to displace these bandits from the holy shrine.’
    • ‘Pilgrimages to shrines and holy places at home and abroad attract tens of thousands of people each year.’
    • ‘When pilgrims and the holy men of the shrine gathered to hear Guru Nanak and question him, he sang in Persian.’
    • ‘There are countless other Buddhist and Shinto shrines and temples in Japan.’
    • ‘Another factor helping to disseminate new types of building and decoration was the movement of pilgrims over the vast network of routes linking churches housing prestigious holy relics and shrines.’
    • ‘Often there are many smaller buildings which include shrines to different Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as local folk gods.’
    • ‘The first phase includes the construction of three principal shrines, dedicated to Lords Ganapati, Siva and Murugan.’
    • ‘Both Jews and Muslims worship the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem as a holy shrine.’
    • ‘Its domed roof resembles the Dome of Rock, one of the Muslims' holy shrines in Jerusalem.’
    • ‘Twenty years ago this week the India army stormed the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, the holiest shrine in the Sikh religion.’
    • ‘The Sikhs were also deprived of many historic shrines and holy places which were left in Pakistan.’
    • ‘On these days they do not enter temples or home shrines, or approach holy men.’
    • ‘He goes to pagan shrines, worships disgusting idols, and lends money for profit.’
    holy place, temple, church, chapel, tabernacle, altar, sanctuary, sanctum
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A place associated with or containing memorabilia of a particular revered person or thing.
      ‘her grave has become a shrine for fans from all over the world’
      • ‘Hundreds of people yesterday took bouquets to the London square that has become a shrine to the victims of the terrorist attacks, in a spontaneous act of tribute seven days after the atrocities.’
      • ‘In amongst the hand-drawn maps and dinosaur relics, I found in Room 26, a shrine to Mongolia's institutional respect for the environment.’
      • ‘The poster is still on the wall in the bedroom my mother has turned into a shrine to my success.’
      • ‘Mum, daughter and son-in-law turned it into a shrine to the Royal family.’
      • ‘The parade left Fred's home in Radcliffe Road, a shrine to his love of industry, at 11 am.’
      • ‘A single room is transformed into a shrine to the international Hungarian exodus after the Soviet crackdown in 1956.’
      • ‘Robben Island, for hundreds of years an international symbol of repression, now a shrine to the human spirit, has an hourly ferry service.’
      • ‘Mr Clarke is so proud of his country and its history that he transformed the living room of the couple's Odsal home into a shrine to England and St George.’
      • ‘Family and friends have created a shrine to the memory of two teenagers killed in a road accident at Nursling.’
      • ‘There is a memorial garden, which has become a shrine to the event.’
      • ‘He will surely walk out from what is now a family apartment located in part of a wing of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the largest palace in all of India, and a shrine to all that is Art Deco.’
      • ‘There is a reason I have a shrine to her in my bedroom.’
      • ‘It is now a hotel which its owner, Francisco Pons Montanari, a Menorcan of Italian descent, has virtually turned into a shrine to the Royal Navy in the eighteenth century.’
      • ‘It is here that they have a shrine to their Rugby team.’
      • ‘It's all about buying the best animals here, but the posh dining room on the top floor is truly a shrine to meat of good provenance.’
      • ‘The five-room, two-bedroom unit was a shrine to Ava Gardner.’
      • ‘The fourth was a temple of a goal, a shrine to what this team was all about.’
      • ‘The National Trust for Scotland has signalled that it does not have the means to buy or run the mansion, which is preserved as a shrine to the writer of Ivanhoe.’
      • ‘It's a shrine to his daughter, who's been taken out of the country by his ex-wife. The house is packed with his daughter's absence.’
      • ‘She even invited me into her house one day and showed me a room that was like a shrine to him.’
    2. 1.2 A casket containing sacred relics; a reliquary.
      • ‘The church and Minster of St.Werburgs also would have commissioned him to make various ecclesiastical bronze ware such as Thuribles, Censers etc; possibly even elements to shrines and reliquaries.’
      • ‘The chests or reliquaries in which they were buried were often venerated as shrines and could also serve as an altar.’
      • ‘It is now accepted in art circles that the belt was a reliquary or shrine.’
      tomb, burial chamber, sepulchre, mausoleum, crypt, vault, catacomb, reliquary, charnel house
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A niche or enclosure containing a religious statue or other object.
      • ‘Backyard bouquets, notes, and cryptic ex voto objects are left at the small outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.’
      • ‘The shrine's niche was full of so many old flowers I couldn't even see which saint was in it.’
      • ‘Arizona's roadside shrines are considered religious sites, not tourist attractions; visit with respect.’
      • ‘There is a new statue in the shrine, larger and gold-plated.’
      • ‘Religious shrines were important parts of the household structure.’
      • ‘There are roadside shrines every other kilometer.’
      • ‘Adriana hid the trinkets in her bedroom, in her little shrine with its statue of the Virgin.’
      • ‘Dotted along the road were many little religious shrines illuminated by flickering candles and featuring nativity scenes.’
      • ‘The tabanka festival combines African-style shrines with a Portuguese religious parade.’
      memorial, monument, cenotaph, cairn, place dedicated to …
      View synonyms


[with object]literary
  • Enshrine.


Old English scrīn ‘cabinet, chest, reliquary’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schrijn and German Schrein, from Latin scrinium ‘chest for books’.