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 ?
com)-- The Sacred Cow Hunters are on the loose in Asia.
The Learning and Skills Council has already reneged on funding promises and even the sacred cow of the NHS is starting to plan for the reality of fewer resources in the future.
The sacred cow of globalisation has been worshipped as possessing the magic that would make everything turn out all right in the end, as long as trade barriers were removed.
The event occurred with little ceremony and no photographers in the small 5 1/2 by 12 foot stateroom of the President's VC-54C aircraft, nicknamed the Sacred Cow.
But the sacred cow as to why we defend these islands is the oil fields.
Faith or no faith, Shambo the Sacred Cow was suffering from tuberculosis and it will not fizzle out as she hopes.
In Kicking the Sacred Cow, he explores some of the major scientific "truths" of our time--e.
THE sacred cow of early pace was well and truly slaughtered by Westmead Hawk's second half speed as he cut down his opponents to record an astonishing victory in Saturday's Derby, writes Patrick Saward.
His successor, Harry Truman, used the plane extensively; in fact, Truman was aboard the Sacred Cow when he signed the National Defense Act of 1947, which, among other things, authorized the establishment of the USAF as a separate service.
She took the sacred cow of a woman's right to choose, arguing--without calling into question the importance of advocating for choice--that feminists should acknowledge that choosing whether or not to have an abortion is not an easy choice and one that can leave scars.
The sacred cow to which I refer is the belief that public schools themselves are sacred and should be preserved at all costs.
The sacred cow syndrome is what often allows "the unscrupulous to pocket the money of the faithful,' he said.
In the February Commentary symposium on the future of conservatism, Standard Editor William Kristol writes that the "task of conservatism today" is, first, to restore transcendent as opposed to secularly based standards to discussions of the role of government, and, second, to "take on the sacred cow of contemporary liberalism - choice.
Will this version replace the Sacred Cow in popular folklore?
In the spring of |91, shortly after the rent laws were extended, The Times ran an article in its "Week in Review" section with a headline that asked the question: "Leading the Sacred Cow of Rent Control to Slaughter?