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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Synonyms for asylum

Synonyms

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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 One family of five withdrew from the church last month, citing concerns over Chinese government pressure, while staying in Jeju to continue their asylum bids. Josh Chin, WSJ, 2 June 2021 Gorsuch noted that as many as 12 of the 9th Circuit’s judges had disagreed with the court’s presumption that favored asylum applicants. Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 Granting asylum to the victims of domestic abuse could open the door to accepting millions of additional people. BostonGlobe.com, 31 May 2021 Granting asylum to the victims of domestic abuse could open the door to accepting millions of additional people. New York Times, 31 May 2021 Many families were unable to secure legal representation, which is often key to winning forms of relief from deportation like asylum. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 28 May 2021 At the time, immigrant advocates and attorneys raised concerns over rushing asylum cases and undermining due process. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, 28 May 2021 The 34-year-old man arrived in the U.S. with his wife from Cuba, requesting asylum at the Texas border. The Arizona Republic, 27 May 2021 During the pandemic, the home transformed into everything — office, school, gym, asylum. Washington Post, 26 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for asylum

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for asylum

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Asylum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asylum. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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
Hint: Sense 3 is somewhat old-fashioned.

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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