Definition of holy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhōlē/

adjective (holier, holiest)

1Dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred: the Holy Bible the holy month of Ramadan
More example sentences
  • At the same time, we are committed to free access and free practice, to the members of the other two religions, to the holy shrines in Jerusalem.
  • His act of praying transforms the cityscape into a sacred space and holy ground.
  • He put the turban upon his head and set the gold rosette as symbol of holy dedication on the front of the turban as the Lord had commanded him.
sacred, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified, sacrosanct, venerated, revered, divine, religious, blessed, dedicated
1.1(Of a person) devoted to the service of God: saints and holy men
More example sentences
  • What do the lives and service of holy women teach us about ordaining women?
  • It also seems right to think that among such holy people, the broken, addicted, and deceived of our world will see the true way of life with its promise of healing, freedom, and peace.
  • He was a very holy person who had a real interest in people.
saintly, godly, saintlike, pious, pietistic, religious, devout, God-fearing, spiritual;
righteous, good, virtuous, angelic, sinless, pure, numinous, beatific;
canonized, beatified, ordained
1.2Morally and spiritually excellent: I do not lead a holy life
More example sentences
  • As a result my picture hopefully has a holy spiritual quality.
  • Real prayer isn't about showing how good, holy or spiritual you are.
  • They were men, holy and angelic in spirit, who preached the word of Allâh in different times and climes and in every land.
2 dated or humorous Used in exclamations of surprise or dismay: holy smoke!
More example sentences
  • But holy smoke, are their doughnuts amazing or what?
  • So he had to be pretty sharp and he fell in love with a girl who he thought he was going to spend a weekend with, it happened to a lot of people, holy God, he was hooked.
  • And I knew immediately, holy heavens, we are under attack.



Pronunciation: /ˈhōləlē/
Example sentences
  • Paul had behaved justly and holily and unblamably.
  • You too, can obtain a real experience of salvation, and say as Paul did, that you are living holily, justly, and unblameably in this present world.
  • That is, we lived holily, we lived a life of devotion to God.


Old English hālig, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German heilig, also to whole.

  • Holy is related to Dutch and German heilig, and derives from the same root as whole. The holy of holies originally referred to the inner chamber of the sanctuary of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which was separated by a veil from the outer chamber and entered only by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. The attitude of self-conscious virtue or piety that is holier than thou also has a biblical source, in Isaiah, which deplores ‘a rebellious people…Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou’. See also high

Words that rhyme with holy

aïoli, coaly, coley, Foley, goalie, guacamole, holey, Holi, lowly, moly, pinole, ravioli, roly-poly, Rowley, shoaly, soli

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ho·ly

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