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The word "blasphemy" came via Middle English blasfemen and Old French blasfemer and Late Latin blasphemare from Greek βλασφημέω, from βλάπτω = "I injure" and φήμη = "reputation". From blasphemare also came Old French blasmer, from which English "blame" came.


  • 1 a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity
  • 2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable
  • 3 : Slander, evil speaking, defamation
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Blasphemy is irreverence toward holypersonages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs. The Abrahamic religions condemn blasphemy vehemently. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy. Those laws may discourage blasphemy as a matter of blasphemous libel, vilification of religion, religious insult, or hate speech. The idea of blasphemy makes the word amenable to colloquial usage.

Sometimes the word "blasphemy" is used loosely to mean any profane language, for example: "With much hammering and blasphemy, the locomotive's replacement spring was finally fitted."

Countries use blasphemy laws to victimize non-members of, and dissident members of, the ruling sect or cult. Countries with a state religion are the most punitive users of blasphemy laws.