• IPA: /ˈsækɹɪfaɪs/

sacrifice (sacrifices, present participle sacrificing; past and past participle sacrificed)

  1. (ambitransitive) To offer (something) as a gift to a deity.
  2. (transitive) To give away (something valuable) to get at least a possibility of gaining something else of value (such as self-respect, trust, love, freedom, prosperity), or to avoid an even greater loss.
    Venison has many advantages over meat from factory farms, although it still requires a hunter to sacrifice the life of a deer.
    • 1964, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Baby Don’t You Do It (Marvin Gaye)
      Don’t you break my heart / ’Cause I sacrifice to make you happy.
    • “God sacrificed His only begotten Son, so that all people might have eternal life.” (a paraphrase of John 3:16)
    • Condemned to sacrifice his childish years / To babbling ignorance, and to empty fears.
    • The Baronet had sacrificed a large sum […] for the sake of […] making this boy his heir.
  3. (transitive) To trade (a value of higher worth) for something of lesser worth in order to gain something else valued more, such as an ally or business relationship, or to avoid an even greater loss; to sell without profit to gain something other than money.
    • , Atlas Shrugged
      If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is.
  4. (transitive, chess) To intentionally give up (a piece) in order to improve one’s position on the board.
  5. (transitive, baseball) To advance (a runner on base) by batting the ball so it can be caught or fielded, placing the batter out, but with insufficient time to put the runner out.
  6. (dated, tradesmen's slang) To sell at a price less than the cost or actual value.
  7. To destroy; to kill.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: же́ртвовать


  1. The offering of anything to a god; a consecratory rite.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, […]”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗, line 322, [{}/mode/1up page 78]:
      Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud, / To Dagon.
  2. The destruction or surrender of anything for the sake of something else; the devotion of something desirable to something higher, or to a calling deemed more pressing.
    the sacrifice of one's spare time in order to volunteer
    1. (baseball) A play in which the batter is intentionally out so that one or more runners can advance around the bases.
  3. Something sacrificed.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I ↗”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, lines 392–393:
      Firſt Moloch, horrid King beſmear'd with blood / Of human ſacrifice, and parents tears,
  4. A loss of profit.
  5. (slang, dated) A sale at a price less than the cost or the actual value.
  • Russian: жертвоприноше́ние

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