holy of holies

Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

holy of ho·lies

1. Judaism The sanctuary inside the tabernacle in the Temple of Jerusalem, in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept.
2. Eastern Orthodox Church The bema or sanctuary in a church.
3. A place of awe.

[Translation of Late Latin sānctum sānctōrum (ultimately translation of Hebrew qōdeš haq-qodāšîm) : sānctum, neuter of sānctus, holy + sānctōrum, neuter genitive pl. of sānctus.]

holy of holies

1. any place of special sanctity
2. (Judaism) (capitals) the innermost compartment of the Jewish tabernacle, and later of the Temple, where the Ark was enshrined

ho′ly of ho′lies

the innermost chamber of the Biblical tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, in which the ark of the covenant was kept.
[1350–1400; Middle English, translation of Late Latin sanctum sanctōrum, translation of Greek tò hágion tôn hagíōn, itself translation of Hebrew qōdesh haqqodāshīm]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.holy of holies - (figurative) something regarded as sacred or inviolable; "every politician fears to touch that holy of holies, the Social Security System"
sacredness - the quality of being sacred
2.holy of holies - (Judaism) sanctuary comprised of the innermost chamber of the Tabernacle in the temple of Solomon where the Ark of the Covenant was kept
sanctuary - a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept
Tabernacle - (Judaism) a portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant on their exodus
Judaism - the monotheistic religion of the Jews having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Torah and in the Talmud

holy of holies

nsancta sanctorum m inv
References in classic literature ?
The good MacW- would not even come out to his meals, and fed solitarily in his holy of holies from a tray covered with a white napkin.
It seems unable to abide for many seconds together in the holy of holies of the captain's state-room; it will out on deck and gaze ahead, through straining eyes, as the appointed moment comes nearer.
I know - this is your holy of holies, but the Duke smokes here - I've seen him.
Ah," he continued with a malicious snarl, "but the Earth man shall suffer for the indignities he has put upon the holy of holies, nor shall any vileness be too vile to inflict upon his princess.
Then it was that Tarzan translated the strange ceremony that had preceded his introduction into this holy of holies.
When I came to the sense of this error, it was with the belief that at least no one else had ever appreciated him so fully, stood so close to him in that holy of holies where he wrought his miracles.
Another day" will do for brick and mortar, but not for the Holy of Holies into which Howards End had been transfigured.
It seemed to him that he had intruded upon the holy of holies, and slowly and carefully he moved his head aside from the contact which thrilled him like an electric shock and of which she had not been aware.
She was all that was pure and good, a holy of holies not lightly to be profaned even by what might possibly be the too ardent reverence of a devotee.
Initiates learned key words and gestures which qualified them to pass from the prosaic and profane world into the realm of mystery, the Holy of Holies.
There's not much else to see in Atlanta, apart from Martin Luther King's birthplace, Ted Turner's CNN studios and - holy of holies - the Coca-Cola factory.
Police said that the arrested belonged to three spinoff clans of the infamous Sicilian Cosa Nostra and were considered the "Sancta Sanctorum" - Holy of Holies - of crime in the Rome area.