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From Latin os sacrum ‎(holy bone), translation of Ancient Greek ἱερὸν ὀστέον ‎(hieròn ostéon). Called so either because supposedly sacrum was the part of an animal offered in sacrifice or because of the belief that the soul of the man resides there. A third explanation, is that the name is due to a mistranslation of ἱερὸν ‎(hieròn), which has two meanings: “holy” or “sacred”, and “big” (Voss, Herrlinger. Taschenbuch der Anatomie); ‘big’ would be an appropriate description of the sacrum.


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sacrum ‎(plural sacra or sacrums)

  1. (anatomy) A large triangular bone located at the base of the spine between the two hipbones of pelvis and formed from fused vertebrae.

Derived terms[edit]





From sacer ‎(sacred, holy).



sacrum n ‎(genitive sacrī); second declension

  1. A holy or sacred object, e.g. vessel, statue, utensil.
  2. A holy or sacred place, e.g. sanctuary, shrine, temple.
  3. A religious act or observance, e.g. a sacrifice, festival, rite.
  4. Divine worship or religion.
    • c. 54-51 BCE, Cicero, De re publica, 2.7.13
      quo foedere et Sabinos in civitatem adscivit sacris conmunicatis et regnum suum cum illorum rege sociavit
      By this compact he admitted the Sabines into the city, gave them a participation in the religious ceremonies, and divided his power with their king.
  5. The private religious rites of a family.
    • c. 51 BCE, Cicero, De Legibus, 2.9.22
      sacra privata perpetua manento
      Let private devotions be perpetually practised.
  6. (only in plural) Poems (as sacred to the muse).
    • c. 8-18 AD, Ovid, Tristia, 4.10.19
      at mihi iam puero caelestia sacra placebant inque suum furtim Musa trahebat opus
      But even as a boy the heavenly poems delighted me, and the Muse was drawing me secretly to her work.
  7. (only in plural, post-Augustan) Secrets, mysteries.
    • 8 AD, Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.709
      sacra tori coitusque novos thalamosque recentes primaque deserti referebam foedera lecti
      I told Aurora of our wedding secrets and all refreshing mysteries of coition – and my first union on my now-deserted couch.


Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative sacrum sacra
genitive sacrī sacrōrum
dative sacrō sacrīs
accusative sacrum sacra
ablative sacrō sacrīs
vocative sacrum sacra



  1. nominative neuter singular of sacer
  2. accusative masculine singular of sacer
  3. accusative neuter singular of sacer
  4. vocative neuter singular of sacer

Related terms[edit]


  • sacrum” in Charlton T. Lewis & Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879.