late 13c., "offering of something (especially a life) to a deity as an act of propitiation or homage;" mid-14c., "that which is offered in sacrifice," from Old French sacrifise "sacrifice, offering" (12c.), from Latin sacrificium , from sacrificus "performing priestly functions or sacrifices," from sacra "sacred rites" (properly neuter plural of sacer "sacred;" see sacred ) + root of facere "to do, perform" (see factitious ).
Latin sacrificium is glossed in Old English by ansegdniss . Sense of "act of giving up one thing for another; something given up for the sake of another" is first recorded 1590s. Baseball sense first attested 1880.