WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
ˈsa•cred ˈcow, n. [countable]
  • someone or something thought to be important and therefore not to be criticized or questioned.

  • WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
    sacred cow, 
  • an individual, organization, institution, etc., considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.
    • in reference to the traditional inviolability of the cow among Hindus 1905–10

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
    sacred cow n
    1. informal a person, institution, custom, etc, unreasonably held to be beyond criticism
    Etymology: alluding to the Hindu belief that cattle are sacred
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