asylum

noun
asy·lum | \ ə-ˈsī-ləm \

Definition of asylum 

1 : an inviolable place of refuge and protection giving shelter to criminals and debtors : sanctuary

2 : a place of retreat and security : shelter

3a : the protection or security 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 freedom from what is required by law for most people

4 somewhat old-fashioned : an institution providing care and protection to needy individuals (such as the infirm or destitute) and especially the mentally ill

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of asylum in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Ever Reyes Mejia of Honduras who came seeking asylum, was detained and recently reunited with son, talks to the Free Press. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Immigrant dad separated from son in Michigan: 'A pain in my heart'," 14 July 2018 In fact, two of the primary plaintiffs chosen by the ACLU for their class-action suit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also of Congolese heritage: a mother and daughter who came to the U.S. seeking asylum last year. Shamira Ibrahim, Daily Intelligencer, "Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants," 13 July 2018 Path 2: Reunified with permission For parents who have been released from Homeland Security and ICE custody — for example, those who are seeking asylum and were released on bond — the process can be different. Kaila White, azcentral, "What we know — and don't — about how immigrant family reunification works," 12 July 2018 Hardiman has defended gun rights but also has ruled in favor of immigrants seeking asylum. NBC News, "Trump fans speculation ahead of prime-time Supreme Court announcement," 9 July 2018 The backlash to the administration’s immigration approach has only increased following the mass implementation in April of a policy of separating children from parents seeking asylum. Steven Lemongello, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Andrew Gillum: Abolish ICE 'in its current form'," 5 July 2018 Merkel has been at odds for more than three weeks with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer over his insistence that migrants who have sought asylum elsewhere in the European Union should be turned away at Germany’s borders. David Rising, The Seattle Times, "Compromise reached in German government migration standoff," 3 July 2018 The church, located in Indianapolis, says just like immigrants crossing the border, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were once homeless and fled danger to seek asylum. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Church puts Jesus, Mary and Joseph in cage to protest ICE detentions," 3 July 2018 Israel’s policy of not accepting refugees remains in place, a senior Israeli military official said, adding that few Syrians would want to seek asylum there. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Syria Rebels Agree to Cede Several Towns to the Assad Regime," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asylum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of asylum

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for asylum

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek asylon, neuter of asylos inviolable, from a- + sylon right of seizure

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about asylum

Dictionary Entries near asylum

aswoon

asylee

asyllabic

asylum

asym-

asymbolic

asymmetrical

Phrases Related to asylum

insane asylum

Statistics for asylum

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for asylum

The first known use of asylum was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for asylum

asylum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of asylum

: 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

asylum

noun
asy·lum | \ ə-ˈsī-ləm \

Kids Definition of asylum

1 : a place of protection and shelter They sought asylum from the storm.

2 : protection given especially to political refugees

3 : a place for the care of the poor or the physically or mentally ill

asylum

noun
asy·lum | \ ə-ˈsī-ləm \

Medical Definition of asylum 

: an institution providing care and protection to needy individuals (such as the infirm or destitute) and especially the mentally ill

Keep scrolling for more

asylum

noun
asy·lum | \ ə-ˈsī-ləm \

Legal Definition of asylum 

: protection from arrest and extradition given especially to political refugees by a nation or by an embassy or other agency that has diplomatic immunity

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on asylum

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

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!