asylum

noun
asy·​lum | \ ə-ˈsī-ləm How to pronounce asylum (audio) \

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

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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

But many also seek asylum from violence and political persecution. NBC News, "Separated from son, one migrant mom takes on the feds," 7 July 2018 After more than a year in detention he was granted asylum by a New Jersey judge. Jonathan Lai, Philly.com, "Most immigrants facing deportation don't have lawyers. N.J. is changing that," 3 July 2018 Tibbo said Hong Kong rejected Rodel’s asylum request and since then officials there have grilled her over her contacts with Snowden, who now lives in exile in Russia. Rob Gillies, The Seattle Times, "Canada takes refugee who sheltered Snowden," 26 Mar. 2019 Andrew Lichtenstein/ Corbis via Getty Images Thousands of families fleeing persecution in Honduras are walking to the United States to request asylum. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Trump’s tent cities are an enormous waste of money. There are better options.," 2 Nov. 2018 Souza, 27, turned herself and her son, Diogo, into U.S. authorities at the Texas border and requested asylum, arguing her life was in danger in her native Brazil. Morgan Lee And Julie Watson, chicagotribune.com, "Frustration, heartbreak for migrant parents looking for kids," 28 June 2018 And only then after being caught, then requested asylum. Fox News, "Trump and media clash over border," 25 June 2018 Similarly, 99,035 annual asylum seekers would be 990,350 over 10 years or $5,756 each rather than $57,555. WSJ, "Parsing the Numbers on Trump’s Border Wall," 1 Feb. 2019 More resources are needed to adjudicate asylum claims more rapidly, to secure people with pending claims in sustainable and humane ways, and to assist Central American countries in combating the underlying issues that drive people north. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The shutdown is intractable because Trump’s wall is ridiculous and Republicans know it," 8 Jan. 2019

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.

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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

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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
old-fashioned : 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 How to pronounce asylum (audio) \

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 How to pronounce asylum (audio) \

Medical Definition of asylum

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

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asylum

noun
asy·​lum | \ ə-ˈsī-ləm How to pronounce asylum (audio) \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on asylum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with asylum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for asylum

Spanish Central: Translation of asylum

Nglish: Translation of asylum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asylum for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about asylum

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