Meaning of HOLY in English

/ ˈhəʊli; NAmE ˈhoʊli/ adjective ( holi·er , holi·est )


[ usually before noun ] connected with God or a particular religion :

the Holy Bible / Scriptures

holy ground

a holy war (= one fought to defend the beliefs of a particular religion)

the holy city of Mecca

Islam's holiest shrine

OPP unholy

—see also holy orders


good in a moral and religious way :

a holy life / man

OPP unholy


[ only before noun ] ( informal ) used to emphasize that you are surprised, afraid, etc. :

Holy cow! What was that?

—see also holier-than-thou , holiness



Old English hālig , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German heilig , also to whole .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.