Sacrilege is a crime that is the violation or injurious treatment/mistreatment of a sacred object or a religious person. It can come in the form of irreverence to holy people, sacred places, and spiritual things. When the sacrilegious offence is verbal, it is called blasphemy, and when physical, it is often called desecration. In a less proper sense, any transgression against what is seen as the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege. "Sacrilege" originates from the Latin "sacer", "sacred", and "legere", "to steal", as in Roman times it referred to the plundering of temples and graves. By the time of Cicero, sacrilege had adopted a more expansive meaning, including verbal offences against religion and undignified treatment of sacred objects.
Most ancient religions have a concept analogous to sacrilege, often considered as a type of taboo. The basic idea is that sacred objects are not to be treated in the same way as other objects.