holy of holies

noun
1.
a place of special sacredness.
2.
the innermost chamber of the Biblical tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, in which the ark of the covenant was kept.
3.
Eastern Church. the bema.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English, translation of Late Latin sanctum sanctōrum (Vulgate), translation of Greek tò hágion tôn hagíōn, itself translation of Hebrew qōdesh haqqodāshīm

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
holy of holies
 
n
1.  any place of special sanctity
2.  (capitals) the innermost compartment of the Jewish tabernacle, and later of the Temple, where the Ark was enshrined

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Holy of holies definition


the second or interior portion of the tabernacle. It was left in total darkness. No one was permitted to enter it except the high priest, and that only once a year. It contained the ark of the covenant only (Ex. 25:10-16). It was in the form of a perfect cube of 20 cubits. (See TABERNACLE.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

holy of holies

A place of awe or sacredness, as in The corporate board room is the holy of holies here. This expression is a translation of the Hebrew term for the sanctuary inside the tabernacle of the Temple of Jerusalem, where the sacred Ark of the Covenant was kept (Exodus 26:34). Its figurative use dates from the second half of the 1800s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
After a trip, my then boss was summoned to the holy of holies to be carpeted for a suspicious expense claim.
Science is based on experimentally verifiable truths, truth is the holy of holies.
The prophet is at the altar when the veil which covers the holy of holies is withdrawn, and a great vision looms up before him.
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