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

transitive verb

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

Examples of sanctify in a Sentence

The priest sanctified their marriage. The constitution sanctified the rights of the people.
Recent Examples on the Web Accentuating the glass wrinkles with gilding serves to sanctify the century-old depot structure. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2024 By the end of the second century, early Christian theologians like St. Clement of Alexandria described two fires: one that destroys and one that sanctifies. Lanta Davis and Vince Reighard, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Mar. 2024 The aura of Andy Warhol, another party buddy, shines on him, sanctifying all worldly ambition. Jackson Arn, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2024 However, many people have gone too far in sanctifying this advancement. Igor Ryabenkiy, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Their arguments manifest in illustrations that sanctified the human doctor by setting him parallel to Christ. Meg Leja, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Nov. 2023 For a moment in time, with the bright lights and loud music, everyone in that room was sanctified under the holy sway of whatever Deion had to say. Tyler R. Tynes, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2023 But that indignity turns out to be an honest reflection of the movie’s patronizing, sanctifying attitude toward Mary, a Black woman whose devastation over her son’s death isn’t explored so much as exploited for dramatic and topical effect. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 26 Oct. 2023 English: Blessed are you, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us to light the (Shabbat and) Yom Kippur candles. Jamie Kravitz, Woman's Day, 28 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sanctify.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near sanctify

Cite this Entry

“Sanctify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


sanc·​ti·​fy ˈsaŋ(k)-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce sanctify (audio)
sanctified; sanctifying
: to set apart as sacred
: to make free from sin

More from Merriam-Webster on sanctify

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