Definition of SACRIFICE

SACRIFICE Noun and verb

Sacrifice can be both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to the act of giving up something valuable for the sake of something else considered more important or worthy. As a verb, it means to give up something valued for the sake of other considerations.

SACRIFICE as a noun

As a noun, sacrifice often denotes the act of offering something precious, such as time, effort, or possessions, for a greater cause or purpose. For example, “Her sacrifice of personal time for volunteer work was greatly appreciated.”

SACRIFICE as a verb

As a verb, sacrifice involves the action of giving up something significant in pursuit of a goal or to benefit others. For instance, “They sacrificed their vacation plans to help build homes for the needy.”

Historical and Religious Context: Throughout history, sacrifice has played a crucial role in various cultures and religions. In ancient times, people performed animal or even human sacrifices to appease gods, seek favor, or ensure good fortune. These rituals were integral to the spiritual and social practices of many civilizations.

Personal and Emotional Dimensions: On a personal level, sacrifice often involves emotional and psychological dimensions. Individuals may sacrifice their comfort, dreams, or well-being for loved ones, reflecting deep bonds of love, duty, and commitment. These acts of selflessness are central to human relationships and community life.

Sacrifice in Modern Society: In contemporary society, the concept of sacrifice extends to various domains such as careers, education, and social activism. People might sacrifice their time and resources to pursue higher education, achieve career success, or advocate for social justice, demonstrating dedication and resilience.

Symbolism and Representation: Symbolically, sacrifice represents noble qualities such as bravery, selflessness, and dedication. It is often depicted in literature, art, and media as a heroic act that underscores the moral and ethical values of characters, highlighting their inner strength and commitment.

Economic and Political Sacrifices: Economically and politically, sacrifice can refer to decisions made by individuals, communities, or nations to forego immediate benefits for long-term gains. Examples include fiscal austerity measures, environmental conservation efforts, or military service, where the present hardships are endured for future prosperity or security.

In conclusion, sacrifice encompasses a wide range of meanings and implications as both a noun and a verb. It involves the act of giving up something valuable for a higher purpose, reflecting themes of selflessness, dedication, and commitment. Historically rooted in religious and cultural practices, the concept of sacrifice continues to be relevant in modern society, symbolizing noble virtues and the pursuit of greater good across personal, social, and global contexts.

Examples of SACRIFICE in a sentence

SACRIFICE as a noun in a sentence

  • The soldier made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
  • Making sacrifices for loved ones is part of being a parent.
  • She made a significant sacrifice to pursue her dreams.
  • The ritual involved the offering of a sacrifice to the gods.
  • His sacrifice of personal comfort for the greater good was admirable.
  • The team celebrated their victory as a tribute to the sacrifices of those who came before them.
  • The family’s financial sacrifice allowed their children to attend college.
  • The charity event raised funds to support veterans and their families who made sacrifices in service.

SACRIFICE as a verb in a sentence

  • He was willing to sacrifice everything for the cause he believed in.
  • They decided to sacrifice their vacation to save money for a down payment on a house.
  • She sacrificed her own happiness for the sake of her friend.
  • The captain chose to sacrifice himself to save his crew.
  • They sacrificed a goat as part of the religious ceremony.
  • The company decided to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term sustainability.
  • She knew she had to sacrifice some sleep to finish the project on time.
  • The coach urged his players to sacrifice individual glory for the success of the team.

Etymology of SACRIFICE

The term sacrifice embarks on a profound journey through human history, spirituality, and ethical contemplation. Rooted in Latin and Old French influences, it has evolved into a concept that signifies the act of offering something valuable, often with profound significance, to a deity, higher power, or noble cause.

  • Latin Origins: The term sacrifice derives from the Latin word “sacrificium,” which combines “sacer” (sacred) and “facere” (to make or do). In ancient Roman and religious contexts, “sacrificium” referred to rituals or offerings made to honor gods or seek their favor.
  • Religious and Spiritual Practices: Sacrifice has been a central feature of religious and spiritual traditions throughout human history. In various cultures and belief systems, sacrifices take diverse forms, including animal offerings, food offerings, ritualistic acts, and acts of self-denial or devotion. These offerings are often imbued with symbolic meaning and performed as acts of worship, thanksgiving, or atonement.
  • Symbolism and Meaning: Sacrifice carries profound symbolic significance, representing themes of devotion, commitment, selflessness, and transcendence. It reflects humanity’s quest for meaning, connection, and redemption, as well as the recognition of higher ideals, values, and purposes beyond individual interests.
  • Ethical and Moral Considerations: In philosophical and ethical discourse, sacrifice raises questions about the nature of altruism, duty, and moral responsibility. Ethicists explore the motivations behind sacrificial acts, the ethical implications of sacrificing one’s own interests for the greater good, and the balance between individual rights and communal well-being.
  • Modern Applications: While traditional religious sacrifices persist in many cultures, the concept of sacrifice has also evolved in modern contexts. It can encompass acts of charity, service, and self-sacrifice for the betterment of others or the advancement of noble causes. Sacrifice is celebrated in narratives of heroism, martyrdom, and collective sacrifice for the greater good.

Sacrifice stands as a concept that transcends temporal and cultural boundaries, reflecting humanity’s spiritual aspirations, ethical dilemmas, and existential quests. From its Latin and Old French roots to its modern-day applications in religious worship, ethical philosophy, and personal ethics, the term embodies the profound complexities of human nature and the enduring search for meaning and transcendence.


  • Surrender
  • Offering
  • Giving up
  • Forfeit
  • Renunciation
  • Abnegation
  • Dedication
  • Devotion


  • Selfishness
  • Self-indulgence
  • Greed
  • Hoarding
  • Preservation
  • Retention
  • Self-interest
  • Acquirement


  • Sacrificial
  • Sacrificer
  • Sacrificing
  • Offering
  • Renounce
  • Devotion
  • Dedication
  • Abandonment

🌐 🇬🇧 SACRIFICE in other languages

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