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

The office did provide national data that shows out of the 925,278 pending cases in removal, deportation, exclusion and asylum-only proceedings so far in 2019, 67% of the detainees were represented by an attorney. oregonlive, "For Oregon immigrants detained by feds, Tacoma lock-up’s cost, distance pose huge barriers," 4 Sep. 2019 The only beings to escape the conflagration are four Saranga birds, Takshaka’s son Aswasena, whose mother sacrifices herself to save him, and the artificer Maya, who finds asylum at Arjuna’s feet. Girish Shahane, Quartz India, "The Amazon fires have a 3,000-year-old parallel in the Indian epic Mahabharata," 30 Aug. 2019 There was also a recent effort to effectively end asylum altogether at the southern border. Amy Taxin, The Denver Post, "Trump moves to end limits on detention of migrant children," 21 Aug. 2019 Local immigration authorities were releasing hundreds of asylum-seeking families, most of them from Central America. CBS News, "Advocates say "Remain in Mexico" policy turns migrants into a "marketable commodity"," 15 Aug. 2019 Over the past year, the president’s bigoted rhetoric and signaling escalated with barrages of tweets attacking congressional members of color and asylum seekers, which spurned debate in newsrooms over how to best articulate the meaning of his words. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "What Toni Morrison Knew About Trump," 13 Aug. 2019 Against all odds, the government was granting Carlos one more chance at asylum. Melissa Del Bosque, ProPublica, "The Case That Made an Ex-ICE Attorney Realize the Government Was Relying on False “Evidence” Against Migrants," 13 Aug. 2019 US Border Patrol is breaking up asylum-seeking families if the parents are HIV positive, an official told Congress today, contradicting existing US policy. Heather Timmons, Quartz, "US border patrol is separating kids from their HIV+ parents, official confirms," 25 July 2019 The White House wants Congress to pass laws that would grant authorities more flexibility to deport unaccompanied minors and asylum-seeking families. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump says ICE raids to start Sunday, emphasizing purge of criminal immigrants," 13 July 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

Comments on asylum

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