What are the differences between the words "holy", "saint" and "sacred"? While there are several other synonyms to all of these, these are the ones I see most commonly and I'm wondering if there are any differences between them as to how and for what they can be used.
If I were asked about it, the following would come to my mind, but I am not sure whether I am right:
- I usually hear/read the word "sacred" in the context of the ancient American civilizations, such as "The Sacred Temple of [insert arbitrary God's name here]". This (and well, this word has always felt to me kind of "dark" - I don't know a better word) makes me believe that "sacred" is used to describe the religious importance/quality of someone/something that's distant for the average English speaker - both geographically and culturally. Another example which seems to reinforce the "distance" aspect is that - to my knowledge - cows in India are usually qualified as "sacred" animals rather than holy or saint.
- I usually hear/read the word "saint" to qualify people, especially Christians. I guess this word must be strongly related to the fact that in order for someone becoming qualified as Saint (s)he must have done a wonder during his/her lifetime.
- I usually hear/read the word "holy" again mostly in a context that has something to do with Christianity and I believe it is commonly used for non-living entities, such as Holy Crowns, The Holy Grail, Holy Water, etc.
So what are your thoughts (or rather, the facts)? Are there important differences between these words? I also welcome any important remarks on any other synonyms as well.