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


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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 five-foot-something Nataraja idol here is awe-inspiring even in the cold darkness of the sanctum. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "How the Indian icon Nataraja danced his way from ancient history to modern physics," 18 Dec. 2019 Unlike most other Shiva temples in southern India, where he is worshipped in his linga form in the main sanctum, here Nataraja, too, is worshipped. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "How the Indian icon Nataraja danced his way from ancient history to modern physics," 18 Dec. 2019 In the early eighties, Trump was his mid-thirties and looking to make his way from his father’s outer-boroughs empire to the inner sanctum of the Manhattan real-estate world. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Roy Cohn and the Making of a Winner-Take-All America," 25 Sep. 2019 But there are some within the inner sanctum of USA Rugby -- the game's governing body in the US -- who are uncomfortable with such rhetoric. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "USA ready to step up, just don't call the Eagles 'sleeping giants'," 25 Sep. 2019 Those who read Handmaids all the way through the epilogue are well aware that the regime will end, and the sequel gives us a surprising play-by-play that falls closer to the government’s inner sanctum than most could have predicted. Seija Rankin,, "The Testaments," 8 Sep. 2019 World leaders have the music on their playlists and the stars to their inner sanctums. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Happy Birthday Hip-Hop: raceAhead," 12 Aug. 2019 Two of my favorites are Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, one leading us into the inner sanctum of our selfish genes and the other to the very precipice of the event horizon. New York Times, "What Does the Author of ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Think You Should Read?," 11 July 2019 Even in the centuries since, these lands have persisted as a rugged sanctum for outdoorsmen. Zach Montague, New York Times, "An Adirondack Wilderness All Your Own," 22 July 2019

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

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sanctum.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sanctum


How to pronounce sanctum (audio)

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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to insert between existing elements

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