sanc·​ti·​fy | \ ˈsaŋ(k)-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce sanctify (audio) \
sanctified; sanctifying

Definition of sanctify

transitive verb

1 : to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use : consecrate
2 : to free from sin : purify
3a : to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to
b : to give moral or social sanction to
4 : to make productive of holiness or piety observe the day of the sabbath, to sanctify it — Deuteronomy 5:12 (Douay Version)

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Synonyms for sanctify


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Examples of sanctify in a Sentence

The priest sanctified their marriage. The constitution sanctified the rights of the people.
Recent Examples on the Web His clear tenor sanctified the songs, gave them a bit of distance from their author. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 The rich, familiar sounds of a black gospel choir in concert with West’s secular samples and on-the-fly beatmaking sounded fresh and aesthetically sanctifying, if not spiritually so. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "Kanye West’s True Salvation on “Jesus Is King”," 27 Oct. 2019 Every Star Wars after this one will try to make its characters important, like societally crucial, glazed with Chosen One frosting, sanctified with sacred sacrifice. Darren Franich,, "Star Wars rewatch: The Empire Strikes Back is the special effects movie that hates special effects," 30 Oct. 2019 His escape plays as an ironic daydream of romantic transcendence, elevating him from the stigmatized to the sanctified. John Lahr, The New Yorker, "Todd Haynes Rewrites the Hollywood Playbook," 4 Nov. 2019 Historically, Mary Magdalene is a conflicted character: vilified, sanctified, often reduced to the contours of her femininity and her suffering. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The 10 Best Albums of 2019," 27 Nov. 2019 That movie sanctifies ignorance, whereas Heller’s, equally gentle, explores not simplemindedness so much as simplicity, a rarer gift. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Art of the Awkward Silence in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”," 15 Nov. 2019 And then there are chapters where the characters find themselves in extraordinary circumstances — throwing caution to the wind, their lives sanctified or ruined by passion. Darren Franich,, "Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels are the best book series of the decade," 15 Nov. 2019 Sooner or later, Adani will expand the mine even further—disturbing even the makeshift spot for worship by cutting down the trees sanctified with mud. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "An Indian mining conglomerate is eating up a sacred forest grove," 24 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sanctify.' 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 sanctify

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sanctify

Middle English seintefien, sanctifien, from Anglo-French seintefier, sanctifier, from Late Latin sanctificare, from Latin sanctus sacred — more at saint

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Time Traveler for sanctify

Time Traveler

The first known use of sanctify was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Sanctify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce sanctify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sanctify

: to make (something) holy
: to give official acceptance or approval to (something)

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