Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Christianity A rite believed to be a means of or visible form of grace, especially:
  • n. Christianity In the Eastern, Roman Catholic, and some other Western Christian churches, any of the traditional seven rites that were instituted by Jesus and recorded in the New Testament and that confer sanctifying grace.
  • n. Christianity In most other Western Christian churches, the two rites, Baptism and the Eucharist, that were instituted by Jesus to confer sanctifying grace.
  • n. A religious rite similar to a Christian sacrament, as in character or meaning.
  • n. The Eucharist.
  • n. The consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread or host.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sacred act or ceremony in Christianity. In Roman Catholic theology, a sacrament is defined as "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace."

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The oath of allegiance taken by Roman soldiers; hence, a sacred ceremony used to impress an obligation; a solemn oath-taking; an oath.
  • n. The pledge or token of an oath or solemn covenant; a sacred thing; a mystery.
  • n. One of the solemn religious ordinances enjoined by Christ, the head of the Christian church, to be observed by his followers; hence, specifically, the eucharist; the Lord's Supper.
  • transitive v. To bind by an oath.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An oath of obedience and fidelity taken by Roman soldiers on enlistment; hence, any oath, solemn engagement, or obligation, or ceremony that binds or imposes obligation.
  • n. In theology, an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace; more particularly, a solemn religious ceremony enjoined by Christ, or by the church, for the spiritual benefit of the church or of individual Christians, by which their special relation to him is created or freshly recognized, or their obligations to him are renewed and ratified.
  • n. The eucharist, or Lord's Supper: used with the definite article, and without any qualifying word.
  • To bind by an oath.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a formal religious ceremony conferring a specific grace on those who receive it; the two Protestant ceremonies are baptism and the Lord's Supper; in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church there are seven traditional rites accepted as instituted by Jesus: baptism and confirmation and Holy Eucharist and penance and holy orders and matrimony and extreme unction

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French sacrement, from Late Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin, oath, from sacrāre, to consecrate, from sacer, sacr-, sacred; see sacred.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sacrāmentum ("sacrament"), from sacrō ("hallow, consecrate"), from sacer ("sacred, holy"), originally sum deposited by parties to a suit. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Arab _Ar'ab_, not _arab_ arid _ar'id_ asphalt _asfalt_, not _fawlt_ bade _bad_ catch not _ketch_ defalcate _defal'kate_, not _fawl_ dilletante _dilletan'te_ forbade _forbad_ granary _granary_ program _pro'gram_, not _grum_ rapine _rap'in_ rational _rational_ sacrament _sacrament_

    Practical Grammar and Composition

  • _I answer that, _ In the sacrament of Baptism, three things may be considered: namely, that which is _sacrament only; _ that which is

    Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) From the Complete American Edition

  • Gospel, the Nicene Creed, and a number of other matters, including the elevation of the host, but not for worship, [Note 9] he proceeds to the next part of the Treatise which is headed "How to _administer the most holy sacrament to the people," [Note 10] and his first sentence is the following: "Let this much suffice to be said of the _Mass_, and service of the minister; we will now proceed to treat of the manner in which the holy _sacrament_ shall be administered to the people, for whose benefit especially the Supper of our Lord was instituted."

    American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics Including a Reply to the Plea of Rev. W. J. Mann

  • In ancient times the term sacrament alone was used, but numerous confusions resulted and the similarity of rites and terms led many Christians to regard both as sacraments.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock

  • Even the Canonists themselves were never able to put forward any coherent and consistent ground for the indissolubility of matrimony which could commend itself rationally, while Luther and Milton and Wilhelm von Humboldt, who maintained the religious and sacred nature of sexual union -- though they were cautious about using the term sacrament on account of its ecclesiastical implications -- so far from believing that its sanctity involved indissolubility, argued in the reverse sense.

    Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 Sex in Relation to Society

  • I then received what they call the sacrament, for the first time.

    Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal

  • It's a constitutional alternative based on religion, so patients can access what we call a sacrament

    AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed

  • The English word "sacrament" comes from the Latin sacramentum, which means primarily an oath, and hence anything sacred.

    Once a Methodist; Now a Baptist. Why?

  • A sacrament is an exterior sign of an interior grace.

    Gay Marriage: No Dissent Allowed

  • George seems to offer proof of the efficacy of this thing we call sacrament, and he manages to hold all the complexity of this great sadness, right here, on this bench, in his tender weeping.

    Tattoos on the Heart

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