a sacred cow

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

A person, group, or institution considered exempt from questioning or criticism. The term alludes to the Hindu view of cows, which are considered symbolic of God’s generosity to humanity. The British coined the term in India in the late nineteenth century, and it began to be used metaphorically by 1900 or so. Margaret Mitchell used it in Gone With the Wind (1936): “I think of my brother, living among the sacred cows of Charleston, and most reverent towards them.”
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 ?
"You could also know your future by a sacred cow, who nods its head in agreement.
Calida that he is not a sacred cow. He does not have immunity from any legislative inquiry,' the senator said in a statement.
In journalism a sacred cow is a person, company or institution that is given preferential treatment when it comes to reporting the news.
He said a dictator is not a sacred cow. ANP spokesman said his party wants accountability across the board.
Kriegel defined a sacred cow as "an outmoded belief, assumption, practice, policy, system or strategy, generally invisible, that inhibits change and prevents responsiveness to new opportunities." Are there sacred cows in your office?
HUNDREDS of Hindus staged a protest outside RSPCA headquarters yesterday over the animal charity's slaughter of a sacred cow.
THE RSPCA was yesterday accused of secretly killing a sacred cow at one of Britain's most prominent Hindu temples.
One of the latest additions to the "entitlement" package, supposedly a sacred cow beyond the reach of legislators, was put there not long ago by those very congressmen: the new Medicare drug benefit.
"It's always fun to watch a sacred cow get barbecued, especially when it's the FBI...Former Acting Director L.
Bastos Marques seems reluctant to sell CSN's stake in CVRD, which has become something of a sacred cow. CVRD is chaired by the 46-year-old Steinbruch, who led the consortium that bought control of the mining giant in a 1997 privatization.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), once a sacred cow, is now under intense scrutiny.
Bartimole says Gateway, in particular, has been a sacred cow to the Plain Dealer.
"It's not a sacred cow, but we're doing as much as possible to get the original flavor," she said.
(He also takes exception to accusations that his support for Nicaraguan "freedom fighters" reflects the growing number of Cubans in his district.) To be fair, Pepper has supported senior citizens throughout his career: the first bill he sponsored as a young Florida state legislator exempted the elderly from a fishing license fee, and Pepper championed the fledgling Social Security program in the late 1930s, before it became a sacred cow. The book's most intriguing revelation is that Pepper used to argue with his wife about "my continuing closeness with the family" (that is his mother and father), who lived with the young Peppers.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday countered Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition to block the Senate's call for an investigation into his firms, stressing that the government's principal lawyer is 'not a sacred cow' and not immune from a legislative inquiry.