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Preach to the choir
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Crux of the matter
Speak of the devil
An act of faith

Holy or sacred are religious terms which strictly mean "designated for spiritual use". More informally, these terms are used to describe a person, place, or thing that conveys "supernatural" feelings.

Holy things are held in veneration by followers of the relevant religion, and followers of other religions (or none) are usually expected to respect this. In dualistic terms, what is "holy" is the opposite of that which is "profane".

The Hebrew word קָדוֹשׁ (transliterated as "qadosh" or "kadosh") is typically translated in the Bible as "holy", but literally means "set aside for a purpose".

Religious use[edit]

  • Holy places can be churches, temples, mountains, places a religious leader came from or went to (e.g. Mecca, or the Holy Land) or places that seem to convey something "other worldly", such as the caves of Lascaux or the wind tunnels in Southern Colorado.
  • Holy books or holy words are generally writings and sayings which are ascribed to the supernatural leader or the god(s) of that religion.
  • Holy artifacts can be relics associated with religious leaders, animal skulls found in odd places, rocks that are oddly colored, or human-made tools of the trade, like the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Holy days, found in most religions, are days in which instead of doing ordinary tasks such as working, people get to sit on their rears adoring God or doing whatever else it is their religion considers holy. These holy days have evolved into our "holidays."

Secular use[edit]

The term "holy" is often applied in the secular world to things which a group has deemed "off limits" to criticism. Players or coaches of a sports team might be considered "holy" to the locals. Political leaders will speak of a particular tax plan or omnibus bill as "holy" if they are chastised by another for challenging it. Texts, particular to non-religious groups, might be called "holy" if it is discouraged or disallowed for members of the group to question them.

See also[edit]