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sacred cow

noun
1.
an individual, organization, institution, etc., considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.
Origin
1905-1910
1905-10; in reference to the traditional inviolability of the cow among Hindus
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sacred-cow

sacred cow

noun
1.
(informal) a person, institution, custom, etc, unreasonably held to be beyond criticism
Word Origin
alluding to the Hindu belief that cattle are sacred
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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sacred-cow in Culture

sacred cow definition


Figuratively, anything that is beyond criticism: “That housing project is a real sacred cow: the city council won't hear of abandoning it.” In India, followers of Hinduism consider cows sacred and do not eat them because they believe the animals contain the souls of dead persons.

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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Slang definitions & phrases for sacred-cow

sacred cow

noun phrase

Someone or something that may not be questioned or altered: Everything is on the table. There are no sacred cows

[1910+; fr the venerated status of cows in Hinduism]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sacred-cow
A person or thing immune to criticism or questioning, as in The rules governing the press conference have become a sacred cow in this administration. This term alludes to the honored status of cows in Hinduism, where they are a symbol of God's generosity to humankind. It has been used figuratively since about 1900.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for sacred-cow

sacred cow

in Hinduism, the belief that the cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence and should therefore be protected and venerated. The cow has also been associated with various deities, notably Shiva (whose steed is a bull), Indra (closely associated with Kamadhenu, the wish-granting cow), Krishna (a cowherd in his youth), and goddesses in general (because of the maternal attributes of many of them).

Learn more about sacred cow with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for sacred cow

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for sacred

9
10
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