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odor of sanctity

1. Literally, a specific scent said to emanate from the body of a saint of the Catholic Church. I had never believed it, but upon entering the small crypt that held the saint's remains, I too could perceive the odor of sanctity so many religious writers had detailed before.
2. By extension, a state of grace, saintliness, or holiness. The nun, who tirelessly devoted her life to helping the poor of her nation, died in an odor of sanctity at the age of 97.
3. Smug and often hypocritical moral or social righteousness; sanctimoniousness. The author provides an extremely compelling moral argument, without enshrouding the entire narrative with an odor of sanctity.
See also: odor, of, sanctity

odor of sanctity

Fig. an atmosphere of excessive holiness or piety. I hate their house. There's such an odor of sanctity with Bibles and holy pictures everywhere. The huge, medieval Gothic cathedral had a distinct odor of sanctity.
See also: odor, of, sanctity

odor of sanctity

Exaggerated or hypocritical piety, an assumption of moral superiority, as in This candidate puts off some voters with his odor of sanctity. This expression, originating in the medieval idea that the dead body of a saintly individual gives off a sweet smell, was used to describe saintliness in the mid-1700s. Today it is generally used ironically.
See also: odor, of, sanctity

odour of sanctity

1 a state of holiness. 2 sanctimoniousness. derogatory
This expression is a translation of the French idiom odeur de sainteté . It refers to a sweet or balsamic odour which was reputedly emitted by the bodies of saints at or after death, and which was regarded as evidence of their sanctity.
See also: odour, of, sanctity

odor of sanctity, the

A reputation for holiness. Today generally used ironically, for extreme or hypocritical piety, this term is based on the medieval notion that the dead body of a saintly person gives off a sweet smell. From this came, “He died in the odor of sanctity,” meaning he died a saint, which later was extended to mean saintliness in general. G. K. Chesterton used it in his poem “A Song of Self-Esteem”—“The Faith of Tennessee has wafted o’er the sea, the odour of its sanctity—and Golly how it stank!”—in which he derided the prosecution of John Scopes in 1925 for teaching evolution in his class at the Dayton (Tennessee) High School.
See also: odor, of
References in periodicals archive ?
Lamenting that those who insult other people's sanctities and values sow the seeds of hatred and extremism, he said the same extremism leads to the killing of innocent people in the region and the looting of their properties by the terrorists.
She stressed that respecting the beliefs, values and sanctities of different religions was a globally accepted principle and European statesmen are expected to heed such norms.
The statement added that the silence of Arab governments that claim to defend Muslims over the escalating and organized terrorism practiced by the Israeli occupation authorities against Islamic and Christian sanctities in the occupied Jerusalem is a shame.
The statement called upon the Arab and Islamic peoples and their parliaments to take serious measures to pressure their governments to stop the Zionist practices and prevent the Israeli occupation from implementing its scheme in juadizing Jerusalem and changing its demography through destroying Palestinian neighborhoods, forcing Palestinians to leave the city and juadizing the Islamic and Christian sanctities to eliminate the Palestinian existence.
Yet, the Wahhabi extremist groups continued their desecration of Shiite sanctities and damaged the mausoleum of another highly revered Shiite figure in Jordan on Saturday.
The sacrilege of Islamic sanctities has aroused intense feelings in Muslim lands, specially in Shiite communities.
"It is quite obvious that committing such ugly acts by Wahhabi extremists in Syria is indicative of their lack of belief in Islamic and humanistic values and blatant violation of religious sanctities," it added.
Beirut, SANA- Hizbullah on Tuesday condemned the Israeli declaration on including the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil to so-called Israeli heritage site, adding it constitutes a new aggression on Moslems' sanctities and a scorn of all sanctities, international norms and human values.
He described this evil aggression as a terrorist act against the freedom of worship and the inviolability of sanctities.
What Israel is perpetrating is criminal acts against Muslims' sanctities and the Arab cultural and historic heritage," a Syrian Foreign Ministry official source said.