from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Desecration, profanation, misuse, or theft of something sacred.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. desecration, profanation, misuse or violation of something regarded as sacred
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The sin or crime of violating or profaning sacred things; the alienating to laymen, or to common purposes, what has been appropriated or consecrated to religious persons or uses.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The violation, desecration, or profanation of sacred things.
- n. In a more specific sense: The alienation to laymen or to common purposes of that which has been appropriated or consecrated to religious persons or uses.
- n. The felonious taking of any goods out of any church or chapel.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin sacrilegium, from sacrilegus, one who steals sacred things : sacer, sacred; see sacred + legere, to gather; see leg- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Circa 1300, original sense “stealing something sacred”. From Old French sacrilege, from Latin sacrilegium, from sacrilegus ("sacrilegious"), from phrase sacrum legere, from sacrum (from sacer ("sacred, holy")) + legō ("gather; take, steal"), from Proto-Indo-European *sak- and Proto-Indo-European *leǵ-. Sense of “profanation” from late 14th century. (Wiktionary)