What does sanction mean?

Definitions for sanction
ˈsæŋk ʃənsanc·tion

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sanction.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sanction, countenance, endorsement, indorsement, warrant, imprimaturnoun

    formal and explicit approval

    "a Democrat usually gets the union's endorsement"

  2. sanctionnoun

    a mechanism of social control for enforcing a society's standards

  3. authority, authorization, authorisation, sanctionnoun

    official permission or approval

    "authority for the program was renewed several times"

  4. sanctionverb

    the act of final authorization

    "it had the sanction of the church"

  5. approve, O.K., okay, sanctionverb

    give sanction to

    "I approve of his educational policies"

  6. sanctionverb

    give authority or permission to

  7. sanctionverb

    give religious sanction to, such as through on oath

    "sanctify the marriage"


  1. sanctionnoun

    An approval, by an authority, generally one that makes something valid.

  2. sanctionnoun

    A penalty, or some coercive measure, intended to ensure compliance; especially one adopted by several nations, or by an international body.

  3. sanctionnoun

    A law, treaty, or contract, or a clause within a law, treaty, or contract, specifying the above.

  4. sanctionverb

    To ratify; to make valid.

  5. sanctionverb

    To give official authorization or approval to; to countenance.

  6. sanctionverb

    To penalize (a State etc.) with sanctions.

  7. Etymology: From sanction.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Sanctionnoun

    Etymology: sanction, French; sanctio, Latin.

    I have kill’d a slave,
    And of his blood caus’d to be mixt with wine:
    Fill every man his bowl. There cannot be
    A fitter drink to make this sanction in. Ben Jonson, Catil.

    Against the publick sanctions of the peace,
    With fates averse, the rout in arms resort,
    To force their monarch. John Dryden, Æn.

    There needs no positive law or sanction of God to stamp an obliquity upon such a disobedience. South.

    By the laws of men, enacted by civil power, gratitude is not enforced; that is, not enjoined by the sanction of penalties, to be inflicted upon the person that shall not be found grateful. Robert South, Sermons.

    The satisfactions of the Christian life, in its present practice and future hopes, are not the mere raptures of enthusiasm, as the strictest professors of reason have added the sanction of their testimony. Isaac Watts.

    This word is often made the sanction of an oath: it is reckoned a great commendation to be a man of honour. Jonathan Swift.

    Wanting sanction and authority, it is only yet a private work. Thomas Baker, on Learning.

    ’Tis the first sanction nature gave to man,
    Each other to assist in what they can. John Denham.


  1. Sanction

    A sanction may be either a permission or a restriction, depending upon context, as the word is an auto-antonym. Examples of sanctions include:

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sanctionnoun

    solemn or ceremonious ratification; an official act of a superior by which he ratifies and gives validity to the act of some other person or body; establishment or furtherance of anything by giving authority to it; confirmation; approbation

  2. Sanctionnoun

    anything done or said to enforce the will, law, or authority of another; as, legal sanctions

  3. Sanctionverb

    to give sanction to; to ratify; to confirm; to approve

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sanction

    sangk′shun, n. act of ratifying, or giving authority to: confirmation: support: a decree, a law.—v.t. to give validity to: to authorise: to countenance.—adjs. Sanc′tionable; Sanc′tionary. [Fr.,—L. sanctīre.]

Suggested Resources

  1. sanction

    Song lyrics by sanction -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by sanction on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sanction' in Nouns Frequency: #2176

Anagrams for sanction »

  1. actinons

  2. canonist

  3. contains

  4. sonantic

How to pronounce sanction?

How to say sanction in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sanction in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sanction in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of sanction in a Sentence

  1. Josh Hawley:

    We should sanction their energy sector down to its knees, and we should open up ours — that, I think, is a great strategic opportunity, the right thing to do for our economy, and I’m going to propose legislation to do it.

  2. Senator Paul:

    There's a very easy compromise, we should define what serious human rights abuses are. Otherwise we have a definition you can drive a truck through, and you can sanction anybody in the world.

  3. Mike Pompeo:

    The Doha agreement was plain. All U.S. commitments were contingent on the Taliban living up to the premises it signed off on in The Doha agreement, we had leadership figures sanctioned from Feb. 29, 2020 on, and we did n’t lift one sanction during our administration.

  4. Mahsa Amini:

    We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly, today's action to sanction Iran's Morality Police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for this oppression demonstrates the Biden - Harris Administration's clear commitment to stand up for human rights, and the rights of women, in Iran and globally.

  5. Hugh Dugan:

    A look at the record shows that Trump has continued to fund it at historic levels, chose it to sanction North Korea, and uses it as a platform to defend Israel. However, there is a wide misperception fed by Trump detractors and a combative media that his Administration has walked away from the U.N., other countries mimic the U.S., and what they hear has led them to go slow on support and check writing.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sanction

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"sanction." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sanction>.

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    equally skillful with each hand
    • A. proprietary
    • B. arbitrary
    • C. ambidextrous
    • D. foreordained

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