Definition of sacrament in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsakrəmənt/


1A religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.
Example sentences
  • We are to participate in the life of Christ through the sacraments of the church.
  • Moral formation involves becoming a follower of Jesus Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit available in the sacraments of the church and the practices of Christian charity.
  • Christ instituted the Church and the sacraments in order to provide grace.
1.1(In the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) the rites of baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination, and matrimony.
Example sentences
  • Thus baptism became one of the seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic church.
  • Out of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic church the Anglican church retained only two: baptism and the Lord's Supper.
  • They observe seven sacraments: the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.
1.2(Among Protestants) baptism and the Eucharist.
Example sentences
  • Protestants observe only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, for we find that these are the only two that Jesus commanded to be observed.
  • Thus worship, particularly the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, enables us to experience and understand more deeply the reality of the Incarnation as God present with us now.
  • The sacraments of baptism and Eucharist are filled with hope because they strengthen and encourage us to look toward the future rather than feel resigned to the past.
1.3 (also the Blessed Sacrament or the Holy Sacrament) (In Roman Catholic use) the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the Host: he heard Mass and received the sacrament
More example sentences
  • And he would show how the Mass itself could not exist without the contribution of those who worked in wineries and bakeries to make the elements employed in the sacrament.
  • We know him: in our prayer, in the bread and wine of the sacrament, in every gracious word, in smiles of generous welcome and in every moment of joy or beauty that leaves us more whole and human.
  • History offers numerous examples of pious Roman Catholic women who claim to exist on the wine and bread of the Holy Sacrament alone.
1.4A thing of mysterious and sacred significance; a religious symbol.
Example sentences
  • In South America the sacred use of the psychedelic ayahuasca has moved from the native populations of the Amazon Basin into the urban centers where it is the central sacrament in their religious praxis.
  • Hindu sacraments are solemnized before the homa fire.
  • With these words, we affirm the sacrament of creating sacred space.


Middle English: from Old French sacrement, from Latin sacramentum 'solemn oath' (from sacrare 'to hallow', from sacer 'sacred'), used in Christian Latin as a translation of Greek mustērion 'mystery'.

  • priest from Old English:

    The Greek presbuteros ‘elder’ was used in the New Testament for ‘elder of the church, priest’ and became presbyter in Latin, which passed into Old English as preost, modern ‘priest’. Presbyter is also the source of presbytery (Late Middle English) and Presbyterian (mid 17th century). The usual Latin word for priest was sacerdos from sacer ‘holy’, which is the source of many words including sacrament (Middle English), sacred (Late Middle English), sacrifice (Middle English), and the opposite execrate (mid 16th century) ‘to curse’. The related sacrilege comes from Latin sacrilegus ‘stealer of holy things’. See also saint

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sac·ra·ment

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