I've checked Word Hyppo, but I cant find a hypernym for 'holy things' that is quite what I want. I feel so sure that there's a word for such things collectively, and I'm looking for a particular one that sounds close to 'acoustics' because that's how I remember it. Any help here, please?

An example: Stealing 'holy things' is sacrilegious.

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    From the full OED: ritualia - Objects used in or connected with rites. Also: ritual activities. Apr 22 at 15:27
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    Do you mean a collective noun, or a hypernym? 'Cutlery' covers knives, forks etc, but is not a collective noun. You don't speak of a cutlery of .... Apr 22 at 17:51
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    The Catholic term is sacramental objects, or just sacramentals. They are not sacraments, but they are blessed and/or used in various religious practices. Rosaries, holy cards, palms, candles, incense, holy water, breviaries, etc. Apr 22 at 20:29
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    You still need to clarify. Synonym? Hypernym? Collective noun? Apr 25 at 18:28
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    @JohnLawler, your comment constitutes an answer; why not post it as such?
    – jsw29
    Apr 25 at 21:22

'Relics', plural of 'relic':

an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr

It's not used exclusively for holy objects, but is I believe strongly associated with it. See also here.

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    I don't think this is quite right. Relics are always the preserved physical remains (parts of a saint's body or his personal possessions, for example). If a priest for one of the religions that practices baptism were to install a new "baptismal font" in his church, I'm sure that would count as a "holy thing" (and the priest might well bless the new font before using it "in anger"). But a baptismal font would almost never qualify as a "relic". Nor would the "holy" candle some vicars give to the proud parents after a christening ceremony, for example, be called a relic. Apr 22 at 15:20
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    Relic is strictly for pieces of a saint's body, occasionally a strip of clothing, or a piece of whatever killed them. Apr 22 at 20:34
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    @JohnLawler That is a technical definition of 'relic'. As more commonly used it is 'anything old'. Between those two ideas, this works for the OP's situation, 'old religious objects'.
    – Mitch
    Apr 26 at 13:51


1. sacred objects, obligations, or rights
2. a sacred thing
3. anything regarded as sanctified or holy

From 'sanctity':

1. holiness of life and character; the quality or state of being holy or sacred

Not all dictionaries explicate the word as meaning (a) holy object(s), but I think the context and recognizable etymology will dramatically facilitate interpretation.

  • But 'lions' isn't a collective noun for lions. Apr 25 at 18:26

Icons is a good choice.

If I hear another talking head on television use the word iconic to describe a sports star or movie star, I think I'll puke. An icon is a piece of art that elicits reverence from a Christian believer or worshiper. It also inspires prayer, silence, and contemplation.

Sacred icons are a form of Christian art especially identified with Eastern Orthodoxy, the form of Christianity that emerged in the Eastern half of the Mediterranean Basin and then spread into Eastern Europe and Russia.

An icon can be two-dimensional, as in a painting, but it can also be three-dimensional, as in the following:

enter image description here

  • Icons are a subclass of the class that the question is about.
    – jsw29
    Apr 26 at 16:59
  • @jsw29: You're right. Don Apr 27 at 12:06

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