I do not know the scholarly inner meaning and origins of the word sacred, but I have considered at length what the term means to my experience. I found its meaning to be quite simple, but not what I had thought aloud before. A sacred space is created for a purpose and protected from all energies and forces that would interfere and detract from it. A sacred object is similar in that it bears an energy or spirit that is potent and not cross cut by many interfering forces. A sacred person has usually gone through many sacred spaces and events and has been changed by them in such a way as to carry their energy.
In a state of being where conscious attention can be a powerful influence, mystery becomes a necessary component of the sacred. Mystery protects the space and that which resides within it from the interference of the minds, emotions and intentions of those who have not chosen to enter the sacred space in the state of consciousness that will further its purpose.
In essence what I am describing as sacredness is very much like the function of an organelle within a cell. Organelles are folds of membrane within a cell which separate a chemical or biological process from the inner space of the cell at large. Organelles allow processes to occur within the cell that would otherwise damage the cell’s broader life functions or would be impossible due to the biochemical noise of the cell’s inner fluids.
The sacred is that which is protected and inviolate. In a living tradition this protection is not for its own sake, not for glorification, but for the protection of processes, psychological, biophysical, energetic, metaphysical, that would be destroyed, inhibited or destructive in the space of everyday consciousness.