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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The DPR boss reiterated that the effects of sanctity of contracts in commercial operations is the bedrock of the sector as businesses involve long terms contracts.
A Kuwaiti filmed the crew as they were preparing the scene at the cemetery and complained they were not respecting the sanctity of the place.
They appealed to the Jhang Deputy Commissioner and officials concerned to construct a wall around all the four corners of the graveyard to protect the sanctity of the graves.
Terming the allegations of terrorism levelled by Sindh government on NAB as most sorrowful, the spokesman said bureau's priority was to protect the sanctity of homes and preserving self respect of the suspects.
'When we say anything they object to it on the pretext of distrubing the sanctity of the house but what about the sanctity of the country,' he said.
When we say anything, they object to it on the pretext of disturbing the sanctity of the house but what about the sanctity of the country," he said.
He further said that the sacrilege of the noble Prophet could not be allowed in the name of democracy and freedom of the expression and even the weakest Muslim was ready to lay down his life for the sanctity of the Holy Prophet as Ghazi Ilmud Din Shaheed and Mumtaz Qadri Shaheed were living example of this fact.
Such punishments could not hinder his efforts launched for the sanctity of vote, he said and added,
We are facing the snakes hiding in the democratic system, who leave no chance to violate the sanctity of vote."
In a country where the Constitution could not protect itself from being abrogated time and again for almost 70 years; it would be naive to talk about 'sanctity of the vote'.
The country could not progress unless sanctity of vote was ensured, he said.
The words employed - "the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect, strengthen the family as basic social institution" and "as the foundation of the nation and shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development" separately and collectively embody and crystallize marriage as an inviolable social institution, whose foundation or root abide in the sanctity of family, deserving of state protection.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has urged its flock to take part in amending the 1987 Constitution to ensure that democracy, human rights and the sanctity of the family are upheld.
He warned that no person or entity can defile the sanctity of the holy lands.
Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, said in a statement today that the targeting of the Two Holy Mosques is an act against symbols of Islamic religion, its pillars and considerd as an indescribable crime, an assault on the sanctity of holy places and direction of a half billion Muslims around the world.