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holy of holies

a place of special sacredness.
the innermost chamber of the Biblical tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, in which the ark of the covenant was kept.
Eastern Church. the bema.
Origin of holy of holies
1350-1400; Middle English, translation of Late Latin sanctum sanctōrum (Vulgate), translation of Greek tò hágion tôn hagíōn, itself translation of Hebrew qōdesh haqqodāshīm Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for holy-of-holies
Historical Examples
  • If you know your business, you are struck with awe on being in this holy-of-holies.

  • Englishmen had been to Lhassa and to Tashi-lunpo; therefore, both of their holy-of-holies had been profaned.

    Caravans By Night Harry Hervey
  • Only a chosen few had ever set foot within the holy-of-holies; this young man was not one of them.

    Warrior of the Dawn Howard Carleton Browne
  • I made no reply, for I feared that she would live to regret having created that scene in the monk's holy-of-holies.

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
British Dictionary definitions for holy-of-holies

holy of holies

any place of special sanctity
(capitals) the innermost compartment of the Jewish tabernacle, and later of the Temple, where the Ark was enshrined
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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holy-of-holies in the Bible

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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Idioms and Phrases with holy-of-holies

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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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