sacred-cow

sacred cow

noun
an individual, organization, institution, etc., considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.

Origin:
1905–10; in reference to the traditional inviolability of the cow among Hindus

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World English Dictionary
sacred cow
 
n
informal a person, institution, custom, etc, unreasonably held to be beyond criticism
 
[alluding to the Hindu belief that cattle are sacred]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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
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