- the violation or profanation of anything sacred or held sacred.
- an instance of this.
- the stealing of anything consecrated to the service of God.
- the misuse or desecration of anything regarded as sacred or as worthy of extreme respectto play Mozart’s music on a kazoo is sacrilege
- the act or an instance of taking anything sacred for secular use
n.c.1300, “crime of stealing what is consecrated to God,” from Old French sacrilege (12c.), from Latin sacrilegium “temple robbery, a stealing of sacred things,” from sacrilegus “stealer of sacred things,” noun use of adjective, from phrase sacrum legere “to steal sacred things,” from sacrum “sacred object” (from neuter singular of sacer “sacred;” see sacred) + legere “take, pick up” (see lecture (n.)). Second element is not from religion. Transferred sense of “profanation of anything held sacred” is attested from late 14c.