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 President Barack Obama went to Myanmar to sanctify the start of a peaceful political transition. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2021 The American flag is supposed to stand for patriotism (remember when Trump kissed it?), but too often, it has also been used to sanctify violence against 'enemies' — real or perceived — of the United States. Star Tribune, 15 Jan. 2021 An ornate metal crucifix in the foreground and a wooden one on the wall behind the couple sanctify the scene. Peter Van Agtmael, Magazine, 8 Dec. 2020 After harming or even executing the scapegoat, the society can create myths of atonement that sanctify social structures. Michael A. Vargas, The Conversation, 25 Sep. 2020 Did this reversal of reproduction sanctify the event or displace it? Namwali Serpell, Harper's Magazine, 18 Aug. 2020 The Kiddush is a blessing to sanctify the beginning of the holiday. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, 7 Aug. 2020 His clear tenor sanctified the songs, gave them a bit of distance from their author. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, 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, 27 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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Statistics for sanctify

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sanctify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for sanctify



English Language Learners Definition of sanctify

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


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