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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English sacred, isacred, past participle of sacren, sakeren (to make holy, hallow), equivalent to sacre +‎ -ed.


  • IPA(key): /ˈseɪkɹɪd/
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sacred (comparative more sacred, superlative most sacred)

  1. Characterized by solemn religious ceremony or religious use, especially, in a positive sense; consecrated, made holy.
    a sacred place
    a sacred day
    sacred service
    • 1797, S[amuel] T[aylor] Coleridge, “Kubla Khan: Or A Vision in a Dream”, in Christabel: Kubla Khan, a Vision: The Pains of Sleep, London: [] John Murray, [], by William Bulmer and Co. [], published 1816, →OCLC, page 55:
      In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree: / Where Alph, the sacred river, ran / Through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea.
    • 1882, Edward Shortland, Maori Religion and Mythology:
      In doing this I particularly instructed my informant to tell his tale as if he were relating it to his own people, and to use the same words that he would use if he were recounting similar tales to them when assembled in a sacred house.
    • 1955, anonymous author, The Urantia Book: The Time of the Tomb:
      The cross is that high symbol of sacred service, the devotion of one's life to the welfare and salvation of one's fellows. The cross is not the symbol of the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God in the place of guilty sinners and in order to appease the wrath of an offended God, but it does stand forever, on earth and throughout a vast universe, as a sacred symbol of the good bestowing themselves upon the evil and thereby saving them by this very devotion of love.
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, London: Rider/Hutchinson & Co., page 102:
      The sacred is the emotional force which connects the part to the whole; the profane or the secular is that which has been broken off from, or has fallen off, its emotional bond to the universe.
    • November 30 2016, Joe Whittle writing in The Guardian, 'We opened eyes': at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history
      Their intent was to march peacefully down a county road to DAPL headquarters, where tribal elders would pray and hold ceremony to bless the sacred sites being disturbed by pipeline construction.
    Synonyms: consecrated, hallowed
  2. Religious; relating to religion, or to the services of religion; not secular
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost:
      Smit with the love of sacred song.
    • 2015, Douglas J. Davies, Adam J. Powell, Sacred Selves, Sacred Settings: Reflecting Hans Mol, →ISBN, page 87:
      By way of example, it would be sufficient to refer to Sabino Samele acquaviva (1971), previously known for his theory of the eclipse of the sacred, and to Harvey cox (1968), prophet of the secular city.
  3. Spiritual; concerned with metaphysics.
    • 2014, Leon Niemoczynski, Nam T. Nguyen, A Philosophy of Sacred Nature: Prospects for Ecstatic Naturalism, →ISBN:
      Unlike most metaphysical or philosophical naturalists who reject any supernatural beings or supernatural/sacred entities, naturalists who take the concept of the sacred seriously must answer this question: “What is the value of the sacred with respect to nature?"
    • 2014, Elazar Barkan, Karen Barkey, Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites, →ISBN:
      In his major studies, Eliade explains the sacred and profane as “two modes of being in the world, two existential situations assumed by man in the course of history. . . . In the last analysis, the sacred and profane modes of being depend upon the different positions that man has conquered in the cosmos."
  4. Designated or exalted by a divine sanction; possessing the highest title to obedience, honor, reverence, or veneration; entitled to extreme reverence; venerable.
    • 1595, William Shakespeare, King Richard II:
      Such neighbor nearness to our sacred [royal] blood Should nothing privilege him.
    • 1656, Abraham Cowley, On The Death Of Mr. Crashaw:
      Poet and saint to thee alone were given, The two most sacred names of earth and heaven.
  5. Not to be profaned or violated; inviolable.
    • 1701, John Dryden, Aurenge-Zebe: Or, The Great-Mogul:
      Secrets of marriage still are sacred held.
    • 2014, Christian Smith, The Sacred Project of American Sociology, →ISBN:
      The sacred project of sociology is simply to help people enjoy being fully what they are.
    Synonyms: inviolable, sacrosanct
  6. (followed by the preposition "to") Consecrated; dedicated; devoted
    • 1700, John Dryden, Palamon and Arcite:
      A temple, sacred to the queen of love.
    Synonym: consecrated
  7. (archaic) Solemnly devoted, in a bad sense, as to evil, vengeance, curse, or the like; accursed; baleful.
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Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]




  1. simple past and past participle of sacre