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


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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 An intruder who invaded Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s inner sanctum and blithely sat at her desk wore a high-voltage stun baton at his side. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Impeachment trial: Day 3 puts focus on Trump’s lack of remorse as House managers pin blame for riot on him," 11 Feb. 2021 The lieutenant, a veteran officer, was regularly assigned to the Speaker’s Lobby, an enclosed hallway and waiting area in the inner sanctum of the Capitol where access is highly restricted. New York Times, "Inside the Deadly Capitol Shooting," 21 Jan. 2021 That $700 million basement, built as an armored buffer between the outside world and inner sanctum, was never supposed to be a fully real place. Justin Davidson, Curbed, "Can an Armored Capitol Still Be the People’s House?," 14 Jan. 2021 The store not only relinquished its food halls and retail showrooms to the production, Harrods enlisted its staff to stand in as extras and even allowed the filmmakers access to its innermost sanctum. Chris Lee, Vulture, "How Doug Liman Convinced Harrods to Let Him Shoot Locked Down in Its Vaults," 13 Jan. 2021 In the heavily Hispanic South Bronx, the liberal sanctum of San Francisco and the immigrant-rich neighborhoods of Miami, President Donald Trump also shrank Democratic margins by drawing thousands more to his side. Michael Scherer, Anchorage Daily News, "Democrats see grim prospects in final election results despite Biden’s win," 26 Dec. 2020 There also was more room for practical jokes, even within the sanctum of Mission Control. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "How a Thanksgiving Day gag ruffled feathers in Mission Control," 23 Nov. 2020 Unlike a visit to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, this is the queen’s private residence and a front row seat within her inner sanctum. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The "Balmoral Test" Is the Ultimate Royal Initiation," 15 Nov. 2020 Peering into a small, heavy, swung-open porthole revealed the inner sanctum, the xenon tank. Ryan Bradley, Popular Science, "Glimpse the gold mine where scientists are searching for dark matter," 27 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sanctum

Time Traveler

The first known use of sanctum was in 1577

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Statistics for sanctum

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sanctum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for sanctum



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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