noun \ə-ˈsī-ləm\

: protection given by a government to someone who has left another country in order to escape being harmed

: a hospital where people who are mentally ill are cared for especially for long periods of time : a mental hospital

Full Definition of ASYLUM

:  an inviolable place of refuge and protection giving shelter to criminals and debtors :  sanctuary
:  a place of retreat and security :  shelter
a :  the protection or inviolability afforded by an asylum :  refuge
b :  protection from arrest and extradition given especially to political refugees by a nation or by an embassy or other agency enjoying diplomatic immunity
:  an institution for the care of the destitute or sick and especially the insane

Examples of ASYLUM

  1. She asked for political asylum.
  2. She was granted asylum after it was made clear that she would be killed if she returned to her native country.

Origin of ASYLUM

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek asylon, neuter of asylos inviolable, from a- + sylon right of seizure
First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with ASYLUM


noun \ə-ˈsī-ləm\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of ASYLUM

: an institution for the relief or care of the destitute or sick and especially the insane


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Protection from arrest and extradition given to political refugees by a country or by an embassy that has diplomatic immunity. No one has a legal right to asylum, and the sheltering state, which has the legal right to grant asylum, is under no obligation to give it. It is thus a right of the state, not the individual. Its traditional use has been to protect those accused of political offenses such as treason, desertion, sedition, and espionage. Beginning in the 20th century, asylum also was granted to those who could demonstrate a significant risk of politically motivated persecution if they returned to their home countries.


Next Word in the Dictionary: asym-
Previous Word in the Dictionary: asyllabic
All Words Near: asylum

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up asylum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).