a. The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person.
b. A victim offered in this way.
a. The act of giving up something highly valued for the sake of something else considered to have a greater value or claim: Social activism often involves tremendous sacrifice.
b. Something given up in this way.
a. Relinquishment of something at less than its presumed value.
b. Something so relinquished.
c. A loss so sustained.
4. Baseball A sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly.
v. sac·ri·ficed, sac·ri·fic·ing, sac·ri·fic·es
1. To offer as a sacrifice to a deity.
2. To give up (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.
3. To sell or give away at a loss.
4. To kill (an animal) for purposes of scientific research or experimentation.
1. To offer a sacrifice: The Greek warriors sacrificed to their gods.
2. To make a sacrifice: parents sacrificing for their children.
3. Baseball To make a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin sacrificium : sacer, sacred; see SACRED + facere, to make; see dhē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.