|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]|
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.