sanc·​tum | \ ˈsaŋ(k)-təm How to pronounce sanctum (audio) \
plural sanctums also sancta\ ˈsaŋ(k)-​tə How to pronounce sancta (audio) \

Definition of sanctum

1 : a sacred place
2 : a place where one is free from intrusion an editor's sanctum the inner sanctums of research

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Synonyms for sanctum


sanctuary, shrine

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Examples of sanctum in a Sentence

Her office was her sanctum. the sanctum of a church

Recent Examples on the Web

The Hall of Fame acknowledges—on a plaque in its inner sanctum—that the Doubleday myth is untrue. The Economist, "Baseball and exceptionalism," 8 June 2019 He is not allowed back in the inner sanctum of her heart. Elena Nicolaou,, "The Handmaid's Tale," 6 June 2019 This is the inner sanctum where the foundational code that determines how the device works lives. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Jailbreaking: The FAQ," 14 Jan. 2019 An April meeting of the Politburo, the inner sanctum of power, offered an initial sign of the shift in government priorities toward growth. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "China’s Effort to Control Debt Loses Steam," 12 July 2018 Winnowing to the inner sanctum becomes even more pronounced after that: Europe filled 23 of 32 semifinal spots and South America eight, with South Korea in 2002 at home becoming the only outsider to reach the final four. Ronald Blum,, "European and South American teams dominate World Cup Round of 16," 28 June 2018 The scene was North Wilkesboro Speedway, a racing sanctum in North Carolina's foothills whose roots traced to NASCAR's first season in 1949. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "How an ex-moonshiner and a city slicker introduced NASCAR to America," 25 May 2018 As his guests marveled at the space, Trump would press them, asking if Obama had ever shown them the West Wing’s inner sanctum. Philip Rucker, Washington Post, "Trump’s ‘tougher on Russia’ claim fits a pattern of striving to one-up Obama," 20 Feb. 2018 The Oval Office, once the inner sanctum for only the high and mighty of any administration, under this president has become the main set for his image-making. Andrew Malcolm,, "Is Donald Trump chief executive or executive producer?," 28 June 2018

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

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sanctum

Late Latin, from Latin, neuter of sanctus sacred

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Statistics for sanctum

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for sanctum

The first known use of sanctum was in 1577

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English Language Learners Definition of sanctum

somewhat formal
: a place where you are not bothered by other people
: a holy or sacred place

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Comments on sanctum

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behavior toward others

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