Ecclesiastical. a visible sign of an inward grace, especially one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace: the sacraments of the Protestant churches are baptism and the Lord's Supper; the sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction.
(often initial capital letter) . Also called Holy Sacrament. the Eucharist or Lord's Supper.
the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread.
something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance.
a sign, token, or symbol.
an oath; solemn pledge.

1150–1200; Middle English < Medieval Latin sacrāmentum obligation, oath, Late Latin: mystery, rite, equivalent to Latin sacrā(re) to devote + -mentum -ment Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sacrament (ˈsækrəmənt)
1.  an outward sign combined with a prescribed form of words and regarded as conferring some specific grace upon those who receive it. The Protestant sacraments are baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches they are baptism, penance, confirmation, the Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony, and the anointing of the sick (formerly extreme unction)
2.  (often capital) the Eucharist
3.  the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, esp the bread
4.  something regarded as possessing a sacred or mysterious significance
5.  a symbol; pledge
[C12: from Church Latin sacrāmentum vow, from Latin sacrāre to consecrate]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1175, from O.Fr. sacrament (12c.), from L. sacramentum "a consecrating," from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Gk. mysterion "mystery."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

sacrament definition

A religious ceremony or rite. Most Christian churches reserve the term for those rites that Jesus himself instituted, but there are disagreements between them on which rites those are. The Lutheran Church, for example, maintains that baptism and Communion are the only sacraments, whereas in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, there are five more: confirmation; confession; anointing of the sick; the ordination of clergy; and the marriage of Christians.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Another essential sacrament shared by both cultures was chicha, a fermented alcoholic brew similar to beer.
The sacrament by which we are born again of water and the holy ghost.
She put in two hours a day at the typewriter, even after receiving the sacrament of the dying.
It is-not to speak it profanely-a sort of secular sacrament.
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