3

What is the difference between santo and sagrado in translating the English religious word "holy." How are the two words used in religious contexts in Spanish-speaking countries?

6
  • 4
    As far as I can tell holy=santo/a sacred=sagrado
    – Laura
    Jan 31, 2012 at 20:07
  • 2
    Is there a question here that can't be answered by reading the dictionary definitions of santo and sagrado?
    – Flimzy
    Feb 1, 2012 at 2:29
  • @Flimzy: My dictionary lists "holy" as a translation for both words. I'm trying to figure out when you'd use which when translating "holy" from English.
    – jrdioko
    Feb 1, 2012 at 2:31
  • 1
    A translation dictionary probably is not sufficient in this case. I liked to the RAE definitions (in Spanish) of both words above. The definitions there are much more in-depth than a translation dictionary can provide. Let me know if those help answer your question.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 1, 2012 at 2:33
  • @Flimzy: Those do help clarify some. It sounds though from Janoma's answer that there's no easy rule... some set phrases (like Holy Family) probably just need to be memorized.
    – jrdioko
    Feb 1, 2012 at 2:38

1 Answer 1

4

Holy means sagrado and santo in the sense of sacred:

Holy Land : Tierra santa

Holy Spirit : Espíritu santo

Holy Bible : la santa biblia (common) or la sagrada biblia (uncommon)

Holy Family : la sagrada familia (as in Gaudí's masterpiece)

Holy Grial : el santo grial

It's also translated as bendito(a):

Holy water : agua bendita

However, santo is the word used for a saint:

Saint Patrick : San Patricio. Patricio es un santo.

Saint Mary : Santa María. María es una santa.

All Saints' Day : día de todos los santos.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.