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  • Verb




For centuries, robbers have looted and desecrated the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. Even during the early part of the twentieth century, archaeologists destroyed, spoiled, and desecrated grave sites in the name of science. In the twenty-first century, we have come to believe that burial sites are to be treated with respect and should not be desecrated or violated. Digging into them, whether for treasure or for information, is a kind of desecration or abuse not to be taken lightly.

Quiz: Why might someone desecrate something?

  • To try to uncover or reveal its secrets.
  • To deliberately try to lessen its sacred value.
  • To try to prove that it is worth more than people think.

Memory Hook

Desecrate Dessert Crate Don't you dare desecrate that dessert crate by leaving it out in the sun, because it's mine, all mine!


  • French Culture Minister Christine Albanel, reacting to Sunday’s incident, pledged to seek improved security in museums and stronger sanctions against those who desecrate art. —USA Today
  • There is a different reality at the mosque where Ahmadinejad voted, in front of which, during his 2005 presidential victory, large American and Israeli flags were painted onto the street for motorists to desecrate by driving over. —The Christian Science Monitor
  • Proposals to amend the Constitution by allowing both the Federal and state governments to prosecute those who physically desecrate the flag have been introduced in both the House and the Senate. —The New York Times
  • The narrowly worded legislation would have made it a crime to desecrate the flag under certain circumstances, such as when trying to incite violence. —USA Today

Word Ingredients

de- down, off, from
secr sacred, holy
-ate make something have a certain quality

To desecrate something is to take it “from” a “holy state” to one that is “off” of being “sacred.”

Word Theater

Batman Desecrating priceless art.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

desecration n the act of violating something holy