Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

sanctuary

play
noun sanc·tu·ary \ˈsaŋ(k)-chə-ˌwer-ē\

Simple Definition of sanctuary

  • : a place where someone or something is protected or given shelter

  • : the protection that is provided by a safe place

  • : the room inside a church, synagogue, etc., where religious services are held

Full Definition of sanctuary

plural sanc·tu·ar·ies

  1. 1 :  a consecrated place: asa :  the ancient Hebrew temple at Jerusalem or its holy of holiesb (1) :  the most sacred part of a religious building (as the part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed) (2) :  the room in which general worship services are held (3) :  a place (as a church or a temple) for worship

  2. 2a (1) :  a place of refuge and protection (2) :  a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegalb :  the immunity from law attached to a sanctuary

Examples of sanctuary

  1. The house was a sanctuary for runaway teens.

  2. The refugees found sanctuary when they crossed the border.

  3. The sanctuary contains the altar of sacrifice.



Origin of sanctuary

Middle English seintuarie, sanctuarie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin sanctuarium, from Latin sanctus


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with sanctuary

actuary, adversary, airy-fairy, ancillary, antiquary, apiary, arbitrary, aviary, axillary, bacillary, beriberi, bestiary, biliary, black raspberry, Bloody Mary, boysenberry, breviary, budgetary, calamari, calamary, candleberry, Canterbury, capillary, carpellary, cassowary, catenary, cautionary, cavitary, cemetery, centenary, certiorari, checkerberry, chinaberry, cometary, commentary, commissary, condottiere, coralberry, corollary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, dietary, dignitary, dromedary, dysentery, elderberry, emissary, estuary, farkleberry, February, formulary, fragmentary, fritillary, functionary, funerary, honorary, huckleberry, intermarry, janissary, January, lamasery, lapidary, lectionary, legendary, legionary, lingonberry, literary, loganberry, luminary, mammillary, mandatary, maxillary, medullary, mercenary, miliary, military, millenary, milliary, millinery, missionary, momentary, monastery, mortuary, necessary, ordinary, ossuary, partridgeberry, pensionary, pigmentary, planetary, Pondicherry, prebendary, presbytery, pulmonary, quaternary, red mulberry, reliquary, rowanberry, salivary, salmonberry, salutary, sanguinary, sanitary, secondary, secretary, sedentary, seminary, silverberry, solitary, sour cherry, stationary, stationery, statuary, subcontrary, sublunary, sugarberry, sumptuary, syllabary, temporary, tertiary, thimbleberry, Tipperary, Tom and Jerry, topiary, tributary, tutelary, Typhoid Mary, unitary, urinary, vestiary, Virgin Mary, visionary, voluntary, vulnerary, Waterbury, whortleberry, winterberry



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ