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Holy vs. Sacred: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Holy refers to something divine or spiritually pure, often associated with a deity; Sacred denotes something revered due to its association with a religious or spiritual aspect.
Holy vs. Sacred

Key Differences

Holy and Sacred both relate to the realm of the religious and the spiritual, but with nuanced differences. Holy often describes something with a direct connection to the divine or godly, carrying a sense of sanctity and purity. Sacred, on the other hand, refers to something that is revered and respected within a religious context, often considered too valuable to be altered.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
The term Holy is frequently used in religious texts and practices, denoting a direct relation to a deity or a divine quality. Sacred encompasses a broader range of items, places, and practices that are venerated for their religious significance, not necessarily implying a direct divine aspect.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Holy can be applied to people, days, or objects that are considered spiritually pure and connected with a higher power. Sacred often describes things that are set apart for worship or religious purposes, and are treated with reverence and awe.
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Dec 01, 2023
In many religious traditions, certain texts are deemed Holy, as they are believed to be the word of a deity or a divine inspiration. Sacred spaces, such as temples or churches, are designated as such due to their religious importance and the sacred activities performed there.
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Dec 01, 2023
Understanding the subtle distinctions between Holy and Sacred enhances the appreciation of religious practices and beliefs. While Holy conveys a sense of divine purity, Sacred underscores the aspect of reverence and sanctity within a religious context.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Directly connected to divinity
Revered within a religious context
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Usage

Used for people, objects, days
Applied to places, objects, practices
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Connotation

Spiritual purity, divine connection
Reverence, sanctity, inviolability
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Contextual Application

Often in texts, practices, individuals
Common in spaces, rituals, artifacts
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Implication in Religion

Implies direct divine aspect
Signifies religious importance
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Holy and Sacred Definitions

Holy

Having a divine quality or aspect.
The holy relic was believed to have healing powers.
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Dec 01, 2023

Sacred

Deserving of religious respect and veneration.
The sacred texts hold great significance in their tradition.
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Dec 01, 2023

Holy

Deserving honor and respect in a religious context.
The priest is considered a holy man in his community.
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Dec 01, 2023

Sacred

Made holy or consecrated by religious association.
The ground where they stood was considered sacred.
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Dec 01, 2023

Holy

Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
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Oct 19, 2023
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Sacred

Must not be violated or disrespected.
The sacred oath they took was binding and solemn.
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Dec 01, 2023

Holy

Regarded with veneration or specified for a religious purpose
A holy book.
A holy place.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Having utmost importance in a religious sense.
The temple housed many sacred artifacts of ancient times.
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Dec 01, 2023

Holy

Living or undertaken with highly moral or spiritual purpose; saintly
A holy person.
A holy way of life.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence
The pursuit of peace is our holiest quest.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Worthy of religious veneration
The sacred teachings of the Buddha.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

(Informal) Used as an intensive
Raised holy hell over the mischief their children did.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Made or declared holy
Sacred bread and wine.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Dedicated to a religious purpose or a god.
I'm planning to visit the holy city of Jerusalem this Christmas.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose, or person
Sacred to the memory of her sister.
A private office sacred to the President.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Revered in a religion.
To demonstrate that this is different from the following definition.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Worthy of respect; venerable.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Morally perfect or flawless, or nearly so.
My grandmother is a very holy woman.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Of or relating to religious objects, rites, or practices.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Separated or set apart from (something unto something or someone else).
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Characterized by solemn religious ceremony or religious use, especially, in a positive sense; consecrated, made holy.
A sacred place
A sacred day
Sacred service
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Set apart or dedicated for a specific purpose, or for use by a single entity or person.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Religious; relating to religion, or to the services of religion; not secular
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

(slang) Used as an intensifier in various interjections.
Holy cow, I can’t believe he actually lost the race!
Those children next door are holy terrors!
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Spiritual; concerned with metaphysics.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

(slang) An expression of astonishment and awe.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Designated or exalted by a divine sanction; possessing the highest title to obedience, honor, reverence, or veneration; entitled to extreme reverence; venerable.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Holy

(archaic) A thing that is extremely holy; used almost exclusively in Holy of Holies.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Not to be profaned or violated; inviolable.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Set apart to the service or worship of God; hallowed; sacred; reserved from profane or common use; holy vessels; a holy priesthood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

(followed by the preposition "to") Consecrated; dedicated; devoted
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Spiritually whole or sound; of unimpaired innocence and virtue; free from sinful affections; pure in heart; godly; pious; irreproachable; guiltless; acceptable to God.
Now through her round of holy thoughtThe Church our annual steps has brought.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

(archaic) Solemnly devoted, in a bad sense, as to evil, vengeance, curse, or the like; accursed; baleful.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

A sacred place of pilgrimage
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Simple past tense and past participle of sacre
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Belonging to or derived from or associated with a divine power
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Set apart by solemn religious ceremony; especially, in a good sense, made holy; set apart to religious use; consecrated; not profane or common; as, a sacred place; a sacred day; sacred service.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Directly associated with a deity or divine.
The holy scriptures are central to their faith.
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Dec 01, 2023

Sacred

Relating to religion, or to the services of religion; not secular; religious; as, sacred history.
Smit with the love of sacred song.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Free from sin or spiritual impurity.
They embarked on a journey to lead a holy life.
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Dec 01, 2023

Sacred

Designated or exalted by a divine sanction; possessing the highest title to obedience, honor, reverence, or veneration; entitled to extreme reverence; venerable.
Such neighbor nearness to our sacred [royal] bloodShould nothing privilege him.
Poet and saint to thee alone were given,The two most sacred names of earth and heaven.
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Oct 19, 2023

Holy

Officially declared sacred and dedicated to a religious purpose.
The holy temple was a place of worship and peace.
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Dec 01, 2023

Sacred

Hence, not to be profaned or violated; inviolable.
Secrets of marriage still are sacred held.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Consecrated; dedicated; devoted; - with to.
A temple, sacred to the queen of love.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Solemnly devoted, in a bad sense, as to evil, vengeance, curse, or the like; accursed; baleful.
But, to destruction sacred and devote.
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Concerned with religion or religious purposes;
Sacred texts
Sacred rites
Sacred music
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Worthy of respect or dedication;
Saw motherhood as woman's sacred calling
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Sacred

Made or declared or believed to be holy; devoted to a deity or some religious ceremony or use;
A consecrated chursh
The sacred mosque
Sacred elephants
Sacred bread and wine
Sanctified wine
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Sacred

Worthy of religious veneration;
The sacred name of Jesus
Jerusalem's hallowed soil
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Sacred

(often followed by `to') devoted exclusively to a single use or purpose or person;
A fund sacred to charity
A morning hour sacred to study
A private office sacred to the President
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Oct 19, 2023

Sacred

Associated with religious worship or deity.
The sacred rituals are performed to honor the gods.
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Dec 01, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are all religious objects Sacred?

Generally, yes, if they are revered and used in religious practices.
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Dec 01, 2023

What defines something as Holy?

Holy refers to something connected to the divine or spiritually pure.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is Sacred used for religious texts?

Yes, religious texts are often considered Sacred.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can music be Sacred?

Yes, if it's used for religious worship or holds religious significance.
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Dec 01, 2023

How is Sacred different from Holy?

Sacred is revered in a religious context, not necessarily implying direct divinity.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can nature be considered Sacred?

Yes, many cultures consider natural sites or elements as Sacred.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are Holy days the same as Sacred days?

They can overlap, but Holy days are specifically connected to divinity.
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Dec 01, 2023

Do the terms Holy and Sacred have similar origins?

Their origins are distinct but both have deep historical religious roots.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are Holy and Sacred interchangeable?

They can be in some contexts, but they have distinct connotations.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can places be Holy?

Yes, places can be Holy if they have a divine significance.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can a person be described as Holy?

Yes, especially if they embody spiritual purity or divine connection.
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Dec 01, 2023

How do I know if something is Holy or Sacred?

It depends on its religious connection and how it's regarded in that context.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is Holy water different from Sacred water?

Holy water is specifically blessed, while Sacred water may have broader religious significance.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can art be Sacred?

Yes, if it holds religious importance or is used in religious contexts.
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Dec 01, 2023

Do Holy and Sacred have legal implications?

In some contexts, especially concerning religious freedom and practices.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is the term Holy exclusive to certain religions?

No, many religions use the term Holy in various contexts.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is there a secular use for Holy?

It's primarily used in religious contexts, but sometimes used metaphorically in secular situations.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can a book be both Holy and Sacred?

Yes, if it's a religious text with divine connection and reverence.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are Holy relics also considered Sacred?

Typically, yes, as they are revered for their religious and divine associations.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are there cultural differences in understanding Holy and Sacred?

Yes, different cultures and religions may interpret and apply these terms uniquely.
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Dec 01, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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