AskDefine | Define desecrate

Dictionary Definition



1 violate the sacred character of a place or language; "desecrate a cemetary"; "violate the sanctity of the church"; "profane the name of God" [syn: profane, outrage, violate]
2 remove the consecration from a person or an object [syn: deconsecrate] [ant: consecrate]

User Contributed Dictionary



From de- + stem of consecrate.


  • /ˈdɛs.ɪ.kreɪt/|/ˈdɛs.ə.kreɪt/, /"dEs.I.krEIt/, /"dEs.@.krEIt/


  1. To profane or violate the sacredness or sanctity of something.
    • 1916 — James Whitcomb Riley, The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, Volume 10.
      It's reform -- reform! You're going to 'turn over a new leaf,' and all that, and sign the pledge, and quit cigars, and go to work, and pay your debts, and gravitate back into Sunday-school, where you can make love to the preacher's daughter under the guise of religion, and desecrate the sanctity of the innermost pale of the church by confessions at Class of your 'thorough conversion'!
  2. To remove the consecration from someone or something; to deconsecrate.
  3. To inappropriately change.


to profane or violate sacredness
to remove the consecration
to inappropriately change

Extensive Definition

Desecration is the act of depriving something of its sacred character -- or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred by a group or individual. Those who hold the desecrated thing as sacred may consider desecratory acts to be sacrilegious acts. This can include desecration of sacred books, sacred places or sacred objects. Desecration generally may be considered from the perspective of a particular religion or spiritual activity. Desecration may be applied to natural systems or components particularly if those systems are part of naturalistic spiritual religion.
To respectfully remove the sacred character of a place or an object is referred to as Deconsecration and should not be seen as a form of desecration.
Some religions, such as the Roman Catholic Church have specific rules as to what constitutes desecration and what should be done in these circumstances.

Desecration of the House of the Báb, Shiraz

In this house in Shiraz, Iran, the Báb, the prophet-founder of the [Babi] religion declared his mission on 23 May 1844.
In 1942-3 it was damaged by fire in an attack by enemies of the Bahá'í Faith, and in 1955 it was destroyed, but later again restored. In 1979 it was destroyed once more during the Iranian Revolution. In 1981 the site was made into a road and public square. Recently, a mosque dedicated to the 'Promised One' has been built adjacent to the site.


desecrate in German: Profanierung
desecrate in French: Profanation
desecrate in Polish: Profanacja

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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