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Borrowing from Old French sacrifice, from Latin sacrificium (sacrifice), from sacrificō (make or offer a sacrifice), from sacer (sacred, holy), + faciō (do, make). Displaced Old English ansegdniss.



sacrifice (third-person singular simple present sacrifices, present participle sacrificing, simple past and past participle sacrificed)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To offer (something) as a gift to a deity.
  2. (transitive) To give away (something valuable) to get at least a possibility to gain something else of value (such as self-respect, trust, love, freedom, prosperity), or to avoid an even greater loss.
    • “Don’t you break my heart / ’Cause I sacrifice to make you happy.” - From the song Baby Don’t You Do It by Marvin Gaye
    • “God sacrificed His only-begotten Son, so that all people might have eternal life.” (a paraphrase of John 3:16).
    • Prior
      Condemned to sacrifice his childish years / To babbling ignorance, and to empty fears.
    • G. Eliot
      The Baronet had sacrificed a large sum [] for the sake of [] making this boy his heir.
  3. (transitive) To trade (a value of higher worth) for one of lesser worth in order to gain something else valued more such as an ally or business relationship or to avoid an even greater loss; to sell without profit to gain something other than money.
    • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
      If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is.
  4. (transitive, chess) To intentionally give up (a piece) in order to improve one’s position on the board.
  5. (transitive, baseball) To advance (a runner on base) by batting the ball so it can be caught or fielded, placing the batter out, but with insufficient time to put the runner out.
  6. (dated, tradesmen's slang) To sell at a price less than the cost or actual value.
  7. To destroy; to kill.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


sacrifice (countable and uncountable, plural sacrifices)

  1. The offering of anything to a god; a consecratory rite.
    • Milton
      Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud, / To Dagon.
  2. Destruction or surrender of anything for the sake of something else; devotion of some desirable object in behalf of a higher object, or to a calling deemed more pressing.
    the sacrifice of one's spare time in order to volunteer
  3. Something sacrificed.
    • Milton
      Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood / Of human sacrifice.
  4. (baseball) A play in which the batter is intentionally out in order that one or more runners can advance around the bases.
  5. A loss of profit.
  6. (slang, dated) A sale at a price less than the cost or the actual value.




Borrowed from Latin sacrificium.



sacrifice m (plural sacrifices)

  1. sacrifice

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit




  1. vocative masculine singular of sacrificus