Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
Arabic Makkah, sacred city of Islam, birthplace of Muhammad, which every Muslim must visit at least once. Origins have been proposed in Phoenician maqaq "ruined" or Arabic mahrab "sanctuary." Figurative sense of "any place one holds supremely sacred" (usually with lower-case m-) is in English from 1850. Related: Meccan.
The birthplace of Muhammad, and thus the holiest city for Muslims. Muslims face in the direction of Mecca when they pray, and they are expected to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lives. Mecca is in present-day Saudi Arabia.
Note: Figuratively, a “mecca” is any place that attracts a great many people, especially for a particular reason: “Vail is a mecca for skiers.”
City in western Saudi Arabia.
Note: As the place where Mohammed the prophet was born in the sixth century, it is the holiest city of Islam and the destination of numerous Muslim pilgrims.
Note: A “mecca” is a place that attracts people: “Hollywood is a mecca for would-be actors and actresses.”