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sanctuary

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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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sanctuary

plural

sanctuaries

  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 in a sentence

  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.



Did You Know?

Historically, churches have been places where fugitives could seek at least temporary protection from the law. In Anglo-Saxon England, churches and churchyards generally provided 40 days of immunity, and neither the sheriffs nor the army would enter to seize the outlaw. But gradually the right of sanctuary was eroded. In 1486 sanctuary for the crime of treason was disallowed, and sanctuary for most other crimes was severely restricted by Henry VIII and later abolished. In the 1980s many U.S. churches provided sanctuary to political refugees from Central America, and the U.S. government mostly chose not to interfere. Today, wildlife sanctuaries provide protection for the species within its boundaries, and farm-animal sanctuaries now rescue livestock from abuse and starvation.

Origin and Etymology of sanctuary

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


First Known Use: 14th century


SANCTUARY Defined for Kids

sanctuary

play
noun sanc·tu·ary \ˈsaŋk-chə-ˌwer-ē\

Definition of sanctuary for Students

plural

sanctuaries

  1. 1 :  a holy or sacred place

  2. 2 :  a building or room for religious worship

  3. 3 :  a place that provides safety or protection <a wildlife sanctuary>

  4. 4 :  the protection from danger or a difficult situation that is provided by a safe place



Word Root of sanctuary

The Latin word sacer, meaning “holy,” and the related word sānctus, also meaning “holy,” give us the roots sacr and sanct. Words from the Latin sacer or sānctus have something to do with holiness. A sanctuary is a holy place. Anything sacred is holy. To sacrifice is to dedicate as a holy offering to a god.



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