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)

Synonyms for sanctify


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of sanctify in a Sentence

The priest sanctified their marriage. The constitution sanctified the rights of the people.
Recent Examples on the Web The Kiddush is a blessing to sanctify the beginning of the holiday. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, 11 July 2022 The Kiddush is a blessing to sanctify the beginning of the holiday. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, 11 July 2022 Contrary to many social mores, milah and niddah attempt to sanctify life, even in the most powerful and intimate realms. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, 28 Mar. 2022 Her death in 1856 marked the end of a 16-year mission in Indiana and the beginning of efforts to sanctify her contributions. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Oct. 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 See More

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.

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

Learn More About sanctify

Time Traveler for sanctify

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sanctify




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sanctify

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sanctify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on sanctify

Nglish: Translation of sanctify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sanctify for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!