sanctity

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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