AskDefine | Define hallowed

Dictionary Definition

hallowed adj : worthy of religious veneration; "the sacred name of Jesus"; "Jerusalem's hallowed soil" [syn: sacred]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a US /ˈhæloʊd/
  • a RP /'hælowɛd/


consecrated or sanctified
sacred, sacrosanct or venerated


  1. past of hallow

Extensive Definition

Hallow is a word usually used as a verb, meaning "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". The adjective form hallowed, as used in The Lord's Prayer, means holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered.


The noun is from the Old English adjective hálig, nominalized as se hálga "the holy man", The Gothic for "holy" is either hailags or weihaba, weihs. "To hold as holy" or "to become holy" is weihnan, "to make holy, to sanctify" is weihan. Holiness or sanctification is weihia. Old English like Gothic had a second term of similar meaning, weoh "holy", with a substantive wih or wig , in Old High German wih or wihi (Middle High German wîhe, Modern German Weihe). The Nordendorf fibula has wigiþonar, interpreted as wigi-þonar "holy Donar" or "sacred to Donar". Old Norse means "temple". The weihs group is cognate to Latin victima, an animal dedicated to the gods and destined to be sacrificed.

In current usage

In modern English usage, the noun hallow appears mostly in compounds in Halloween and Hallowmas. Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is a shortened form of All Hallow Even, meaning "All Hallows' Eve" or "All Saints' Eve". Hallowmas, the day after Halloween, is shortened from Hallows' mass, and is also known as "All Hallows' Day" or "All Saints' Day".
Hallows can refer to saints, the relics (including remains) of the saints, the relics of gods, or shrines in which relics are kept. Since the essence of these saints or gods were often considered present at their shrines and in their relics, hallows came to refer to the saints or gods themselves, rather than just their relics or shrines. Because of these various usage possibilities, the hallowed (sacred) hallows (relics) of a hallowed (holy) hallow (saint) might be hallowed (venerated) in a hallowed (consecrated) hallow (shrine).

In legend

Some important and powerful objects in legends could be referred to as "hallows" because of their function and symbolism. The Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland possessed four "hallows", the Four Treasures of Ireland: the Spear of Lugh, Stone of Fal, the Sword of Light of Nuada, and The Dagda's Cauldron. In the modern period, these were adapted to become the four suits in the Rider-Waite Tarot cards deck (swords, wands, pentacles and cups), and also took on the representation of the four classical elements of air, fire, earth and water.
Coronation ceremonies for monarchs still invokes four ritual objects, now represented as the sceptre, sword, ampulla of oil, and crown. Similar objects also appear in Arthurian legends, where the Fisher King is the guardian of four "hallows" representing the four elements: a dish (earth), Arthur's sword Excalibur (air), the Holy Lance or spear, baton, or a magic wand (fire), and the Holy Grail (water).

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The Deathly Hallows refer to three legendary magical objects mentioned in a fairy tale: the Elder Wand which could defeat all others in battle, the Resurrection Stone which could bring back the souls of the deceased, and the Cloak of Invisibility which could hide the wearer from most forms of detection. Together the objects were said to make their owner a "Master of Death".

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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