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[sak-ruh-muh nt] /ˈsæk rə mənt/
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sacraments
  • High-end audio is a priesthood with its own strange sacraments, such as monster cables with gold-plated connectors.
  • There are plenty of religious rites and sacraments that are meaningless in a legal context.
  • We who are not zealots can rejoice that when bread and wine are no longer sacraments, they will still be bread and wine.
  • It is another thing to use the sacraments of the church to enforce political uniformity on the matter.
  • The sacraments are being celebrated all over the world.
  • The piety with which he received the last sacraments drew tears from all who were present.
  • The third tome presents us his theological treatises, of which the principal are his two books on the sacraments.
  • He was no sooner arrived there but he received the holy sacraments.
  • Their second error was, that no sacraments can be validly conferred by these that are not in the true church.
  • Sundays are when the majority of church programming occurs and also when sacraments are regularly celebrated.
British Dictionary definitions for sacraments


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)
(often capital) the Eucharist
the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, esp the bread
something regarded as possessing a sacred or mysterious significance
a symbol; pledge
Word Origin
C12: from Church Latin sacrāmentum vow, from Latin sacrāre to consecrate
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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Word Origin and History for sacraments



"outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," also "the eucharist," c.1200, from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" (12c., Modern French sacrement) and directly from Latin sacramentum "a consecrating" (also source of Spanish sacramento, German Sakrament, etc.), from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery).

Meaning "a holy mystery" in English is from late 14c. The seven sacraments are baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick (extreme unction).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sacraments in Culture

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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