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Divine vs. Holy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Aimie Carlson || Published on December 22, 2023
Divine relates to a god or supreme being, often implying celestial or supernatural qualities; holy signifies sacredness, often associated with religious sanctity or purity.

Key Differences

Divine pertains to gods or a supreme being, encompassing qualities beyond the ordinary, often implying omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Holy, on the other hand, is a term denoting sacredness, often used to describe people, places, or objects that are consecrated or set apart for religious purposes.
The concept of divine often involves the notion of creation, governance, or judgment by a deity, reflecting a level of power and authority beyond human capabilities. Holy, in contrast, refers to a state of being pure, morally unblemished, or worthy of veneration, especially in a religious context.
Divine revelation refers to the communication of knowledge or truth by a deity to humans, often through sacred texts or prophets. Holy scriptures or holy sites, however, are respected and revered due to their association with divinity and their role in religious practices.
In many religious traditions, divine intervention is a key concept where a deity intervenes in the world, often in miraculous ways. Holiness, however, is often achieved through human acts of devotion, worship, or adherence to religious laws and rituals.
The divine is typically seen as an external, all-powerful force or entity that exists beyond the physical realm. The concept of holiness, while also pertaining to the spiritual, is more directly related to the human experience of the divine, emphasizing purity, morality, and religious devotion.

Comparison Chart

Relation to Deity

Directly pertains to a god or supreme being
Pertains to things associated with divinity


Universal, cosmic
Specific to religious context


Supernatural, celestial
Sacred, pure

Human Interaction

Often through revelation or intervention
Through devotion, worship, and sanctification


Often abstract, conceptual
Tangible in objects, places, or actions

Divine and Holy Definitions


Divine is to foretell through or as if through the art of divination.
The fortune teller divined his future with remarkable accuracy.


Holy means dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose.
The holy temple was a place of worship and peace.


Divine can describe something extremely good or pleasing.
The choir's performance was simply divine.


Holy can describe something regarded with great reverence or awe.
The holy scriptures were central to their faith.


Divine implies being godlike or characteristic of deities.
His divine powers were revered by his followers.


Holy implies being spiritually pure or morally unblemished.
He was considered a holy man, known for his kindness and virtue.


Divine also means to discover or perceive something indirectly or intuitively.
She divined the truth from their expressions.


Holy refers to something that embodies the divine or sacred.
The holy relic was venerated by the congregation.


Divine means relating to, coming from, or like God or a god.
She had a divine revelation during her meditation.


Holy is used to express surprise or emphasis in exclamations.
Holy cow! That was an unexpected turn of events!


Having the nature of or being a deity.


Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.


Of, relating to, emanating from, or being the expression of a deity
Sought divine guidance through meditation.


Regarded with veneration or specified for a religious purpose
A holy book.
A holy place.


What is the basic meaning of "divine"?

"Divine" primarily refers to something related to a god or deity, or possessing godlike qualities.

How is "holy" commonly understood?

"Holy" typically means sacred, consecrated, or set apart for religious veneration.

Is "holy" used in secular contexts?

Rarely. It's mostly used in religious contexts, but sometimes used informally for emphasis, like "holy cow!"

Does "divine" have a verb form?

Yes, as a verb, "divine" means to discover by intuition or insight, or to prophesy.

Can "holy" be used as a verb?

No, "holy" is primarily an adjective.

What is the noun form of "divine"?

The noun form is "divinity," referring to the state or quality of being divine or a deity.

Is there a noun form for "holy"?

No direct noun form, but "holiness" refers to the quality of being holy.

Can "divine" be used to describe non-religious contexts?

Yes, "divine" can describe something extremely good or delightful, like "divine tasting food."

Does "holy" always imply a religious aspect?

Mostly, though it can be used metaphorically in non-religious contexts.

How is "divine" used in literature?

It's often used to describe characters with godlike attributes or ethereal beauty.

What are examples of idioms with "holy"?

Phrases like "holy grail" (something highly sought after) or "holy ground" (sacred place).

Can "divine" indicate something supernatural?

Yes, it often implies a supernatural or godlike aspect.

What is a common use of "holy" in literature?

It describes characters, places, or objects considered sacred or morally pure.

Can "divine" refer to fate or destiny?

Yes, in contexts like "divine providence" or "divine will."

Is "holy" associated with moral purity?

Yes, it often signifies moral purity or righteousness.

Are "divine" and "holy" interchangeable?

Not always. "Divine" often refers to godly nature, while "holy" implies sacredness or consecration.

Are there idiomatic expressions using "divine"?

Yes, such as "divine intervention" meaning unexpected help from a higher power.

How do the meanings of "divine" and "holy" differ in religious texts?

"Divine" usually pertains to godly attributes, while "holy" describes things dedicated to religious purposes.

Can "divine" and "holy" be used in all religious contexts?

Generally, yes, but their specific implications may vary across different religions.

Are there synonyms for "divine" and "holy"?

For "divine," synonyms include heavenly, godlike. For "holy," sacred, sanctified.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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