And it is possible for us to construct a package that would be balanced, would share sacrifice, would involve both parties taking on their sacred cows, would involved some meaningful changes to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid that would preserve the integrity of the programs and keep our sacred trust with our seniors...He needs a better editor! That use of sacred cows primes the listener to disbelieve his seriousness about keeping the trust with seniors. We're prompted to think of "sacred" things as things that people are wrongly leaving untouched!
By the way, the word "sacrifice" also appears in that sentence, and "sacrifice" has the same root as "sacred."
sacrifice (n.)Perhaps, out of respect for Hinduism, we should refrain from using the term "sacred cow." Perhaps respect for religion should lead us away from using the words "sacred" and "sacrifice" casually. But surely, if you want to demonstrate your somber, serious dedication by festooning your rhetoric with the words "sacred" and "sacrifice," you should nix the expression "sacred cow" — which is all about saying people are silly to regard something as holy.
mid-13c., from O.Fr. sacrifise (12c.), from L. sacrificium, from sacrificus "performing priestly functions or sacrifices," from sacra "sacred rites" (prop. neut. pl. of sacer "sacred," see sacred) + root of facere "to do, perform" (see factitious). L. sacrificium is glossed in O.E. by ansegdniss. Sense of "something given up for the sake of another" is first recorded 1590s. Baseball sense first attested 1880.
c.1300, from pp. of obsolete verb sacren "to make holy" (early 13c.), from O.Fr. sacrer (12c.), from L. sacrare "to make sacred, consecrate," from sacer (gen. sacri) "sacred, dedicated, holy, accursed," from O.L. saceres, which Tucker connects to base *saq- "bind, restrict, enclose, protect," explaining that "words for both 'oath' & 'curse' are regularly words of 'binding.' " But Buck merely groups it with Oscan sakrim, Umbrian sacra and calls it "a distinctive Italic group, without any clear outside connections." Nasalized form is sancire "make sacred, confirm, ratify, ordain." Sacred cow "object of Hindu veneration," is from 1891; figurative sense of "one who must not be criticized" is first recorded 1910, reflecting Western views of Hinduism.