The word "sacred" descends from the Latin sacrum, which referred to the gods or anything in their power, and to sacerdos, priest; sanctum, set apart. It was generally conceived spatially, as referring to the area around a temple. The English word "holy" dates back to at least the 11th Century with the Old English word hālig, an adjective derived from hāl meaning "whole" and used to mean "uninjured, sound, healthy, entire, complete". The Scottish hale ("health, happiness and wholeness") is the most complete modern form of this Old English root.
The modern word "health" is also derived from the Old English hal. As "wholeness", holiness may be taken to indicate a state of religious completeness or perfection. The word "holy" in its modern form appears in Wyclif's Bible of 1382. In non-specialist contexts, the term "holy" is used in a more general way, to refer to someone or something that is associated with a divine power, such as water used for baptism.