a sacred cow

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a sacred cow

Someone or something that is considered to have a status that allows it avoid any criticism or questioning. The phrase refers to the veneration of the cow in Hinduism. Unfortunately, that particular program is a sacred cow, and everyone loses their minds if you try to cut its funding. Why is he such a sacred cow around here? He's just a football coach.
See also: cow, sacred

sacred cow

Something that is considered above reproach or immune to negative criticism. (An allusion to cows' sacred status in the Hindu religion.) One thing you have to understand is that freedom of speech is one of the sacred cows of American culture and politics. The book has always been John's sacred cow—if you try to point out any of its flaws, he'll fly off on a tirade against you.
See also: cow, sacred

sacred cow

Fig. something that is regarded by some people with such respect and veneration that they do not like it being criticized by anyone in any way. (From the fact that the cow is regarded as sacred in India and is not eaten or mistreated.) A university education is a sacred cow in the Smith family. Fred is regarded as a failure because he quit school at 16. Don't talk about eating meat to Pam. Vegetarianism is one of her sacred cows.
See also: cow, sacred

sacred cow

A person or thing immune to criticism or questioning, as in The rules governing the press conference have become a sacred cow in this administration. This term alludes to the honored status of cows in Hinduism, where they are a symbol of God's generosity to humankind. It has been used figuratively since about 1900.
See also: cow, sacred

a sacred cow

If you describe a belief, opinion, or tradition as a sacred cow, you mean that people are not willing to criticize or question it or to do anything to change it. That would have meant leaving the Exchange Rate Mechanism — and the ERM is the sacred cow of British politics. The trade unions were, perhaps, the greatest sacred cow in British politics during the 1960s and early 1970s. Note: This is often used in a disapproving way. Note: In the Hindu religion, cows are regarded as sacred.
See also: cow, sacred

a sacred cow

an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above questioning or criticism.
Sacred cow originally referred to the veneration of the cow as a sacred animal in the Hindu religion.
1991 Here's Health The British diet remains a sacred cow.
See also: cow, sacred

a sacred ˈcow

(disapproving) a person, belief or institution that a group of people greatly respect and never criticize: The National Health Service is a political sacred cow. No one likes to criticize it.In the Hindu religion, cows are respected and never harmed.
See also: cow, sacred

sacred cow

Above criticism. Hindus regard bovines as revered creatures, not to be mistreated in any way. The English-speaking world began to apply this religious practice in the mid-19th century to any person or project (often political in nature) that, like Caesar's wife, should not be faulted.
See also: cow, sacred
References in periodicals archive ?
A second sacred cow is the apparent boom in Welsh-medium education.
I even have a chapter in my book Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers called "The Techno Cow.
Like George Schuyler, Reed attacks sacred cows with a vengeance.
Making no apologies, ANTiSEEN plows ahead; bulldozing all sacred cows along their path, and putting wicked grins on the faces of those who realize that along with being an American comes the right to exercise free speech--even when wielding a bat covered in barbed wire while draped in a Confederate flag and your forehead is gushing so much blood that Terry Funk would be proud.
by writing that "NEA cannot allow sacred cows to block the path of members who want to pursue their own vision of school quality.
We're skewering some sacred cows in this issue - mainly some of our favorite buzzwords.
Hey CEOs, it's time to gore those sacred cows and get down to the real business of metalcasting - innovating to make more money, not more castings.
Frantz, who has written extensively about Scientology, said investigations of religious groups inherently deal with sacred cows - and often huge amounts of money as well.
Because religion and family are the two sacred cows of our society.
This may entail turning some sacred cows out to pasture.
When rock and the pop narcotic was first published in 1990, it incited a fair bit of controversy, startling many by the sheer aggression with which Joe Carducci lambasted America's rock-critical establishment and lashed its sacred cows.
The jokes were first of all based on character and, secondly, on some swipes at ballet's sacred cows.
In his act, there are no sacred cows that warrant special protection from his barbs, and this taped version of a 1990 concert at the State Theatre, New Brunswick, N.
Occasionally, that means tinkering with some of the industry's most sacred cows.
I saw that many things weren't reported--there were sacred cows all over the place," he says.