Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To violate the sacredness of; profane.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To profane or violate the sacredness or sanctity of something.
  • v. To remove the consecration from someone or something; to deconsecrate.
  • v. To inappropriately change.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To divest of a sacred character or office; to divert from a sacred purpose; to violate the sanctity of; to profane; to put to an unworthy use; -- the opposite of consecrate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To divest of sacred or hallowed character or office; divert from a sacred purpose or appropriation; treat with sacrilege; profane; pollute.

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

  • v. violate the sacred character of a place or language
  • v. remove the consecration from a person or an object

Etymologies

de- + (con)secrate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From de- + stem of consecrate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A standard definition for desecrate is to profane, to abuse, to violate the sacredness of.

    On “Desecration”

  • The dictionary won't help me on this; they all define the word desecrate as strictly a religious term that you might apply to the destruction of objects found in a church or synagogue, certainly not to a secular object like an American flag.

    The issue that will not die

  • To "desecrate" something it has to be sacred in the first place.

    Palin hits back at 'malicious' photo

  • Good stuff except for one major thing: Right or wrong, believing in a 9/11 conspiracy does not "desecrate" the memory of those who died.

    Tom Matzzie: Memo to Right-Wing Donors -- This is Who You're Getting in Bed With

  • Also, I think it's interesting that they should use the term "desecrate" in reference to their proposed amendment.

    Archive 2005-06-01

  • The definitions for "desecrate" revolve around things that are sacred (i.e. derive their status from religious traditions, not civic or governmental).

    Archive 2005-06-01

  • And yeah, there's folks that this is the "very word of a deity" spoken to a guy in Arabia long ago, but if freedom speech and religion means anything, it means the freedom to ridicule, insult, and yes, "desecrate" whatever others think is "holy."

    Notes in Samsara

  • There are many Israeli companies that "desecrate" the Sabbath already.

    IAGblog

  • A hooligan claiming to be a member of an anti-Scientology group was arrested Wednesday for attempting to "desecrate" the Church of Scientology with a wacky weapon -

    Religion News Blog

  • Saudi King Abdullah said Friday his country will not allow anyone to "desecrate" its lands.

    Eyewitness News

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