Blasphemy Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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When you’re offended by someone speaking irreverently about a subject that is sacred to you, then what they’ve said is considered blasphemous. Blasphemy (pronounced ˈblæsfəmi, blas-fuh-mee) is an insult or a lewd act against God, gods, or sacred things (like the Eucharist). 

People can be guilty of blasphemy just by expressing their disbelief in God or something else sacred. In some countries, it’s even illegal to blaspheme. But does this mean that a person mocking your favorite TV show is guilty of blasphemy? Not necessarily. 

This is everything you need to know about what blasphemy means in the world today, where the word comes from, and how to avoid blasphemy in your own speech! 

What Is the Definition of Blasphemy? 

Blasphemy is the act of saying something disrespectful about God. Blasphemy can be committed in many ways, including speaking blasphemous words, thinking blasphemous thoughts, or creating blasphemous art or music. It almost always involves degrading a deity’s attributes, insulting religious practices or statues, or disrespecting a system of beliefs. 

The exact definition of blasphemy may vary from culture to culture and even country to country. For example, in some countries, it’s illegal to blaspheme against Christianity; in others, it’s unlawful to blaspheme against Islam. 

Some countries have laws protecting freedom of speech that protect people from being prosecuted for blasphemy; other countries don’t have those laws at all (or don’t enforce them).

The Roman Catholic Church defines blasphemy as an act that uses or abuses the name of God to excite hatred against religion, provoke disorder in society, or insult public morals and religious beliefs. It is also considered a sin by some Christian denominations and certain sects of Judaism.

If you were to look in a thesaurus for word lists of synonyms, you would likely find words including: 

  • Irreverence
  • Profanity
  • Sacrilege
  • Reviling
  • Impiety
  • Inviolable
  • Lack of Reverence
  • Act of insulting
  • Desecration

What Is the Etymology of the Word Blasphemy? 

The Greek word βλασφημία (blasphemia) originally meant “to speak evil of” or “to harm.” The term was used to explain why the gods would be offended if someone lied about them, as it harmed their reputation. 

As time passed, the word was transposed into many languages, from Late Latin to Old French to Middle English, all the way to modern English. While the term has gone through many different forms and spellings, its meaning has remained the same

What Is Blasphemy in Christianity? 

To understand the concept of blasphemy, it’s essential to first examine what is meant by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons in God’s divinity and is referred to as the personification of love, mercy, and forgiveness. 

Christ said that no one could commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit or himself because “he who blasphemes against me insults my Father also.” (Luke 12:10). Therefore, his words can only be considered absolute when referring to God or Jesus Christ.

Blasphemy in the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible was punishable by death (Leviticus 24:16). Blasphemy in the New Testament is generally viewed as less severe than it was under Leviticus 24:16 and often involves speaking against God or Jesus Christ rather than directly at them. 

However, many Christians still view blasphemy as a grave offense against their faith and might say something if they feel someone has offended them.

The idea behind this sin being unforgivable is that it cannot be forgiven by anyone other than God himself, hence why some believe that committing such an act will result in eternal damnation. You may often hear someone blaspheming against Islam because they have spoken ill about Muhammad or Allah. 

This type of offense would not only put them at risk of losing their life but also prevent them from entering heaven after death if they were Muslim due to their actions against their god during life on earth. 

Blasphemy Laws in the Modern World

Blasphemy laws are still in effect in many countries. In some cases, these laws have been amended to reflect the freedom of expression and freedom of religion. However, blasphemy laws can be used as a tool for censorship and persecution by those who seek to silence their opponents. 

Blasphemy is not merely an issue central to religious beliefs; it also has implications for speech and expression more generally and other human rights such as freedom of thought or conscience.

In some places, these laws are used to oppress religious minorities or to punish religious dissenters. These people have been killed for merely speaking their minds about religious issues others deemed offensive or inappropriate. For example, an atheist blogger was recently sentenced to death by hanging in Bangladesh for offending Islam on his blog and Facebook page (the sentence was later overturned). In Indonesia and Malaysia, atheism is illegal and punishable by up to five years in jail!

Blasphemy laws are not only restrictive but also extremely vague: what counts as blasphemous speech? What constitutes “insulting” religion? The answers aren’t clear at all, making it easy for governments to target anyone who speaks out against them. 


Avoiding blasphemy might save you from getting the death penalty, depending on where you live in the world. Being knowledgeable and conscious of how you communicate is especially important in these places. 

If you want to grow in your ability to communicate well and maintain clarity and effectiveness in speech, one of the most important things you can do is check out our blog here at The Word Counter. We have countless resources and pieces of information that can help guide you through modern English in powerful ways that can change your life and maybe even save it in these cases! 

If you want to learn more about how you can maximize your communication skills, feel free to check out some of our latest articles right here


Blasphemy Definition & Meaning |

Blasphemy definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

Blasphemy – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms |