sanctuary

noun
sanc·​tu·​ary | \ ˈsaŋ(k)-chə-ˌwer-ē \
plural sanctuaries

Definition of sanctuary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a consecrated place: such as
a : the ancient Hebrew temple at Jerusalem or its holy of holies
b(1) : the most sacred part of a religious building (such as the part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed)
(2) : the room in which general worship services are held
(3) : a place (such as a church or a temple) for worship
2a(1) : a place of refuge and protection
(2) : a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal
b : the immunity from law attached to a sanctuary

sanctuary

adjective

Definition of sanctuary (Entry 2 of 2)

US
: relating to or being a locality that provides limited cooperation to federal officials in the enforcement of immigration laws or policies a sanctuary jurisdiction sanctuary policies … the executive order … designed to crack down on so-called "sanctuary cities," municipalities that do not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement … requests for assistance with identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants.— Euan McKirdy

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Synonyms for sanctuary

Synonyms: Noun

sanctum, shrine

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Did You Know?

Historically, churches have been places where fugitives could seek at least temporary protection from the law. In Anglo-Saxon England, churches and churchyards generally provided 40 days of immunity, and neither the sheriffs nor the army would enter to seize the outlaw. But gradually the right of sanctuary was eroded. In 1486 sanctuary for the crime of treason was disallowed, and sanctuary for most other crimes was severely restricted by Henry VIII and later abolished. In the 1980s many U.S. churches provided sanctuary to political refugees from Central America, and the U.S. government mostly chose not to interfere. Today, wildlife sanctuaries provide protection for the species within its boundaries, and farm-animal sanctuaries now rescue livestock from abuse and starvation.

Examples of sanctuary in a Sentence

Noun

The house was a sanctuary for runaway teens. The refugees found sanctuary when they crossed the border. The sanctuary contains the altar of sacrifice.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Costa Rica Irene EdwardsGreenSpot TravelShe can pull off helicopter flights over volcanoes or a day at a sloth sanctuary. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 Her visit has featured visits to children’s hospitals and schools, teas with foreign first ladies, and a photo op at a sanctuary for orphaned baby elephants — typical fare for a trip of this kind. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Melania Trump wore an Out of Africa-esque outfit during a trip to Kenya, complete with a pith helmet.," 5 Oct. 2018 The incident follows the deaths of more than 100 sea turtles, whose carcasses recently turned up at a wildlife sanctuary on the Pacific coast of Chiapas state. James Rogers, Fox News, "More than 300 vulnerable sea turtles found dead in sea off Mexico," 29 Aug. 2018 Other sightings around the Cape included a worm-eating warbler in the Mashpee River woodlands, an alder flycatcher in South Truro, and five purple martins at Wellfleet Bay sanctuary. BostonGlobe.com, "Bird sightings on Cape Cod," 24 June 2018 Deputies with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the destruction of a portable toilet over the weekend at a Porter County wildlife sanctuary by what appears to be an explosive device. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Reward offered after vandalism discovered at wildlife sanctuary," 18 June 2018 Tiki, the tucan who escaped her cage at the Flamingo Gardens wildlife sanctuary was last spotted at Rexmere Village in Davie. Erika Pesantes, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Tiki the toucan took off. Is she feasting on your mangoes?," 12 June 2018 Workers at the animal sanctuary were able to remove the paint from Raphael and nurse him back to good health. Steve Barrett, ajc, "Tortoise covered in red paint survives; man charged with dumping paint into burrow," 16 May 2018 This fundraiser/garage sale brings in the most income for Frisky’s and helps to take care of injured and abandoned wildlife animals at the sanctuary. Kerry Plummer, baltimoresun.com, "Time to sign up kids for Marriotts Ridge summer camps[Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]," 26 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1985, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sanctuary

Noun

Middle English seintuarie, sanctuarie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin sanctuarium, from Latin sanctus

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Statistics for sanctuary

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sanctuary

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

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More Definitions for sanctuary

sanctuary

noun
sanc·​tu·​ary | \ ˈsaŋk-chə-ˌwer-ē \
plural sanctuaries

Kids Definition of sanctuary

1 : a holy or sacred place
2 : a building or room for religious worship
3 : a place that provides safety or protection a wildlife sanctuary
4 : the protection from danger or a difficult situation that is provided by a safe place

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Comments on sanctuary

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