Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR HOLY

In this holy atmosphere we paused for a moment in silent reverence.

But the Holy Laws no longer needed the safe shelter of a royal shrine.

He was, to the eyes of men, studious and holy as an anchorite.

Or I might compare them to cherubs, haunting that holy place.

Give me the Holy Water, Nora, there's a small sup still on the dresser.

"I think you were right about the holy children," she said quietly.

The holy possession lasted but a minute or so, and left her dumb.

By all that's holy, as a favor to me, spit out the words you have uttered.

May the holy Julian stand by us and the thrice-sainted Christopher!

"And bring with him a flask of holy water," added the knight of Bohemia.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English halig "holy, consecrated, sacred, godly," from Proto-Germanic *hailaga- (cf. Old Norse heilagr, Old Frisian helich "holy," Old Saxon helag, Middle Dutch helich, Old High German heilag, German heilig, Gothic hailags "holy"). Adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus.

Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was "that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated," and connected with Old English hal (see health) and Old High German heil "health, happiness, good luck" (source of the German salutation Heil). Holy water was in Old English. Holy has been used as an intensifying word from 1837; used in expletives since 1880s (e.g. holy smoke, 1883, holy mackerel, 1876, holy cow, 1914, holy moly etc.), most of them euphemisms for holy Christ or holy Moses.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR HOLY

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.