Difference Between Sacred & Profane


Sacred and profane are words that are commonly used in religious contexts, but their meanings have evolved over time. While sacred has always been associated with holiness and religious significance, profane was originally used to describe anything that was unholy or ordinary. However, in modern times, profane has taken on a broader meaning and is used to describe anything that is vulgar or obscene. This article will explore the different contexts and usages of these words in more detail.

The Origin and Meaning of Profane

The word profane originates from the Latin word profanus, which is a combination of “pro” meaning before and “fanum” meaning temple. This suggests that anything that is not associated with a temple or holy place is considered profane. In earlier times, profane was used to refer to all things that were unholy, as well as ordinary things, times, and places.

For example, if we look at a church from the outside, it may appear like any other building made of concrete. However, stepping inside the church evokes a sense of holiness and reverence. This is why everything associated with a church or any other religion is considered to be sacred. However, in modern times, this feeling of awe and reverence is often only experienced on special occasions or religious festivals.

The Significance of Sacred Times

Religious festivals, such as Easter and Christmas, are examples of sacred times when we honor specific events or figures in religious history. During these times, we are reminded of the holiness associated with these events or figures and are temporarily liberated from the ordinary or profane. These sacred times serve as a reminder of the importance of the religious aspects in our lives.

Evolution of the Term Profane

While sacred has retained its original connotations, profane has evolved to have a broader meaning. In addition to describing things that are unholy or ordinary, profane is now used to describe things that are vulgar or obscene. This broader usage of the term reflects the changing values and norms in society.

In conclusion, sacred and profane are opposites in meaning. Sacred refers to all things holy and religious, while profane originally referred to anything that was unholy or ordinary. However, in modern times, profane has expanded to include things that are vulgar or obscene. Understanding the contexts and usages of these words can help us better navigate religious and societal discussions.


1) Sacred and profane are opposites or antonyms that have traditionally been used in connection with religion.
2) In earlier times, sacred referred to all things holy while profane referred to all things unholy or ordinary.
3) Today, the definition of profane has broadened and includes all things that are vulgar or obscene.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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