Meaning of HOLY in English

I. ˈhōlē, -li adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English holy, hooly, haly, from Old English hālig; akin to Old High German heilag holy, Old Norse heilagr, Gothic hailags, Old English hāl whole — more at whole


a. : set apart and dedicated to the service or worship of God or a god : hallowed , sacred

holy vessels

the holy priesthood

b. : dedicated to or laying claim to being dedicated to a sacred or selfless purpose

gave money to various holy causes



(1) : perfect in righteousness and divine love : infinitely good : worthy of complete devotion and trust : commanding one's fullest powers of adoration and reverence

the holy Lord God Almighty

(2) : of or befitting something that is perfect or worthy in his way

a smile of holy sweetness — George Meredith

b. : spiritually whole, sound, or perfect : of unimpaired innocence or proved virtue : pure in heart : godly , pious — often used in mild oaths

my holy aunt


a. : venerated because of association with someone or something holy

holy relics

the holy cross

b. of a saint or saintly person : worthy of veneration

holy martyrs

c. : to be treated with veneration or the utmost respect

to him every action of the campaign was holy

d. : being awesome, frightening, or beyond belief

the child was a holy terror

so frightened he had the holy horrors

4. : not capable of being approached with impunity : filled with mysterious, superhuman, and potentially fatal power : dangerously powerful if violated

some words are considered so holy they must never be spoken aloud — Stuart Chase

II. noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English holi, adjective, from Old English


[translation of Late Latin sanctus ]

: a holy place : sanctuary

2. obsolete : saint

3. capitalized : god II 1

into the presence of the Holy

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.