late 13c., "offering of something (especially a life) to a deity as an act of propitiation or homage;" mid-14c., "that which is offered in sacrifice," from Old French sacrifise "sacrifice, offering" (12c.), from Latin sacrificium, from sacrificus "performing priestly functions or sacrifices," from sacra "sacred rites" (properly neuter plural of sacer "sacred;" see sacred) + root of facere "to do, perform" (see factitious).
Latin sacrificium is glossed in Old English by ansegdniss. Sense of "act of giving up one thing for another; something given up for the sake of another" is first recorded 1590s. Baseball sense first attested 1880.