adjective, holier, holiest.
specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.
dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.
having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.
entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.
religious: holy rites.
inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress: The director, when angry, is a holy terror.
noun, plural holies.
a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary.

before 900; Middle English holi, Old English hālig, variant of hāleg, equivalent to hāl whole + -eg -y1; cognate with Dutch, German heilig, Old Norse heilagr

holey, holy, wholly.

1. blessed. Holy, sacred, consecrated, hallowed imply possession of a sanctity that is the object of religious veneration. Holy refers to the divine, that which has its sanctity directly from God or is connected with Him: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Something that is sacred while sometimes accepted as entitled to religious veneration, may have its sanctity from human authority: a sacred oath. Something that is consecrated is specially or formally dedicated to some religious use: a life consecrated to service. Something that is hallowed has been made holy by being worshiped: a hallowed shrine. 4. spiritual.

3, 4. corrupt, impious.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
holy (ˈhəʊlɪ)
adj , holier, holiest
1.  of, relating to, or associated with God or a deity; sacred
2.  endowed or invested with extreme purity or sublimity
3.  devout, godly, or virtuous
4.  holier-than-thou offensively sanctimonious or self-righteous: a holier-than-thou attitude
5.  holy terror
 a.  a difficult or frightening person
 b.  informal (Irish) a person who is an active gambler, womanizer, etc
n , holier, holiest, -lies
6.  a.  a sacred place
 b.  (functioning as plural) the holy persons or things invested with holiness
[Old English hālig, hǣlig; related to Old Saxon hēlag, Gothic hailags, German heilig; see hallow]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. halig "holy," from P.Gmc. *khailagas (cf. O.N. heilagr, Ger. heilig, Goth. hailags "holy"), adopted at conversion for L. sanctus. Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not impossible to determine, but it was probably "that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,"
and connected with O.E. hal (see health) and O.H.G. heil "health, happiness, good luck" (source of the Ger. salutation heil). Use of Holy Land for "western Palestine" dates to late 13c. Holy water was in O.E. Holy smoke (1889), holy mackerel (1903), etc., all euphemisms for holy Christ. Phrase holier-than-thou in reference to supercilious sanctimony first recorded 1912 in writings of Theodore Dreiser.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the power, being, or realm understood by religious persons to be at the core of existence and to have a transformative effect on their lives and destinies. Other terms, such as holy, divine, transcendent, ultimate being (or reality), mystery, and perfection (or purity) have been used for this domain. "Sacred" is also an important technical term in the scholarly study and interpretation of religions

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
We also visited a few sacred temples and happened to be there on one of the
  more holy days.
He knew that such proclamations made him seem a holy fool.
He calls for time-pressed adults to sample holy books and history texts.
It has its elaborate, formalized incantations, its holy slogans.
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