Definition for SAC'RI-FICE

SAC'RI-FICE, n. [Fr. from L. sacrificium.]

  1. An offering made to God by killing and burning some animal upon an altar, as an acknowledgment of his power and providence, or to make atonement for sin, appease his wrath or conciliate his favor, or to express thankfulness for his benefits. Sacrifices have been common to most nations, and have been offered to false gods, as well as by the Israelites to Jehovah. A sacrifice differs from an oblation; the latter being an offering of a thing entire or without change, as tithes or first fruits; whereas sacrifice implies a destruction or killing, as of a beast. Sacrifices are expiatory, impetratory, and eucharistical; that is, atoning for sin, seeking favor, or expressing thanks. Human sacrifices, the killing and offering of human beings to deities, have been practiced by some barbarous nations.
  2. The thing offered to God, or immolated by an act of religion. My life if thou preserv'st, my life / Thy sacrifice shall be. – Addison.
  3. Destruction, surrender or loss made or incurred for gaining some object, or for obliging another; as, the sacrifice of interest to pleasure, or of pleasure to interest.
  4. Any thing destroyed.

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