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From Proto-Italic *sākris (sacred), from Proto-Indo-European *seh₂k- (to sanctify, to make a treaty).



sacer (feminine sacra, neuter sacrum); first/second-declension adjective (nominative masculine singular in -er)

  1. sacred, holy, dedicated (to a divinity), consecrated, hallowed (translating Greek ἱερός)
    • c. 200 BCE, Plautus, Menaechmi V.5.38:
      at ego te sacram coronam surrupuisse Iovi scio
      And I know that you stole the sacred crown of Jupiter.
  2. devoted (to a divinity for sacrifice), fated (to destruction), forfeited, accursed
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid III.56:
      quid non mortalia pectora cogis / auri sacra fames
      Accursed hunger for gold, what do you not compel the hearts of men to do!
  3. divine, celestial
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid VIII.591:
      extulit os sacrum caelo tenebrasque resoluit
      lifts to the skies his countenance divine, and melts the shadows of the night away.
  4. (only poetic and in post-Augustan prose) execrable, detestable, horrible, infamous; criminal, impious, wicked, abominable, cursed
    • c. 190 BCE, Plautus, Bacchides 4.6.14:
      ego sum malus ego sum sacer scelestus
      I am a bad one, I am a cursed one—a wicked one.


First/second-declension adjective (nominative masculine singular in -er).

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative sacer sacra sacrum sacrī sacrae sacra
Genitive sacrī sacrae sacrī sacrōrum sacrārum sacrōrum
Dative sacrō sacrō sacrīs
Accusative sacrum sacram sacrum sacrōs sacrās sacra
Ablative sacrō sacrā sacrō sacrīs
Vocative sacer sacra sacrum sacrī sacrae sacra



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Asturian: sacru
  • Catalan: sacre
  • Galician: sacro, sagro
  • Italian: sacro


  • sacer in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • sacer in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • sacer in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) ritual; ceremonial: sacra, res divinae, religiones, caerimoniae
    • (ambiguous) to sacrifice: sacra, sacrificium facere (ἱερὰ ῥέζειν), sacrificare
    • (ambiguous) to profane sacred rites: sacra polluere et violare
  • De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, page 532