What does sanctuary mean?

Definitions for sanctuary
ˈsæŋk tʃuˌɛr isanc·tu·a·ry

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sanctuarynoun

    a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept

  2. refuge, sanctuary, asylumnoun

    a shelter from danger or hardship

  3. chancel, sanctuary, bemanoun

    area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir; often enclosed by a lattice or railing


  1. sanctuarynoun

    A place of safety, refuge or protection.

    My car is a sanctuary, where none can disturb me except for people who cut me off.

  2. sanctuarynoun

    An area set aside for protection.

    The bird sanctuary has strict restrictions on visitors so the birds aren't disturbed.

  3. sanctuarynoun

    A state of being protected, asylum.

    The government granted sanctuary to the defector, protecting him from his former government.

  4. sanctuarynoun

    The consecrated (or sacred) area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.

  5. Etymology: From sanctuary, from saintuaire, from sanctuarium, from sanctus; see saint.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SANCTUARYnoun

    Etymology: sanctuaire, Fr. sanctuarium, Latin.

    Having waste ground enough,
    Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary,
    And pitch our evils there. William Shakespeare.

    They often plac’d
    Within his sanctuary itself their shrines. John Milton.

    Let it not be imagined, that they contribute nothing to the happiness of the country who only serve God in the duties of a holy life, who attend his sanctuary, and daily address his goodness. John Rogers, Sermons.

    Come, my boy, we will to sanctuary. William Shakespeare, R. III.

    I’ll hence forthwith unto the sanctuary,
    To save at least the heir of Edward’s right. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    Oft have I heard of sanctuary men;
    But sanctuary children, ne’er ’till now. William Shakespeare, R. III.

    He fled to Beverly, where he and divers of his company registered themselves sanctuary men. Francis Bacon, Henry VII.

    Howsoever the sanctuary man was protected from his creditors, yet his goods out of sanctuary should not. Francis Bacon, H. VII.

    This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill. John Milton.

    What are the bulls to the frogs, or the lakes to the meadows? Very much, says the frog; for he that’s worsted will be sure to take sanctuary in the fens. Roger L'Estrange.

    The admirable works of painting were made fuel for the fire; but some reliques of it took sanctuary under ground, and escaped the common destiny. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.


  1. Sanctuary

    A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for people, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.


  1. sanctuary

    A sanctuary is a place of safety or refuge, often associated with a sacred or protected space. It can be a specific physical location, such as a church, temple, or wildlife refuge, where certain protections are in place. The term can also be used metaphorically to denote any place where one feels particularly safe, secure, or at peace.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sanctuarynoun

    a sacred place; a consecrated spot; a holy and inviolable site

  2. Sanctuarynoun

    the most retired part of the temple at Jerusalem, called the Holy of Holies, in which was kept the ark of the covenant, and into which no person was permitted to enter except the high priest, and he only once a year, to intercede for the people; also, the most sacred part of the tabernacle; also, the temple at Jerusalem

  3. Sanctuarynoun

    the most sacred part of any religious building, esp. that part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed

  4. Sanctuarynoun

    a house consecrated to the worship of God; a place where divine service is performed; a church, temple, or other place of worship

  5. Sanctuarynoun

    a sacred and inviolable asylum; a place of refuge and protection; shelter; refuge; protection

  6. Etymology: [OE. seintuarie, OF. saintuaire, F. sanctuaire, fr. L. sanctuarium, from sanctus sacred, holy. See Saint.]


  1. Sanctuary

    A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a safe haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. sanctuary

    A nation or area near or contiguous to the combat area that, by tacit agreement between the warring powers, is exempt from attack and therefore serves as a refuge for staging, logistic, or other activities of the combatant powers.

Suggested Resources

  1. sanctuary

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

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How to pronounce sanctuary?

How to say sanctuary in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sanctuary in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sanctuary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of sanctuary in a Sentence

  1. Joseph Dunford:

    I think Joint Chiefs of Staff's premature, I'm not using the' withdraw' word right now, we're going to make sure our, that Afghanistan's not a sanctuary.

  2. Jeff King:

    Father Josiah Trenham said. The incident took place on April 12, some four months after a terror attack left 14 dead in nearby San Bernardino, and just over three months before a French priest was killed by ISIS-linked jihadists in his church. The events, whether far or near, underscore a grim new reality for pastors such as Father Josiah Trenham : Instead of offering sanctuary from evil, churches could in fact be attractive targets for terror. Many churches are now hiring self-defense instructors for classes or security guards that include off-duty police, said Ryan Mauro, a professor of Homeland Security at Liberty University and national security analyst for the Clarion Project. If you are an Islamist terrorist seeking self-glory, executing a priest will bring you more attention than executing an average civilian. While no lethal terror attacks have occurred inside a U.S. church to date, experts like Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, notes the threat tally is growing. I'm pretty sure there will be attacks in the future, until [ radical Islam is defeated ], we can expect Christians, including in the West, to rationally tighten security measures and try to protect themselves from attack. In February, Khial Abu-Rayyan, 21, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was arrested after Khial Abu-Rayyan told an undercover The FBI agent Khial Abu-Rayyan was preparing to shoot up a major church near Khial Abu-Rayyan home on behalf of ISIS. A month earlier, the Rev. Roger Spradlin of Valley Baptist Church – one of the biggest congregations in Bakersfield, Calif. – told attendees that they had received a threat written in Arabic. Undercover officers were then placed during worship services.

  3. Brian Turmail:

    This is the worst kind of populism, given the fact that this administration has been aggressively pursuing sanctuary cities, this seems like an easy slam dunk.

  4. Vivek Ramaswamy:

    And then, when that merges with capitalism, which is what I have actually been the biggest critic of, what it does is, we lose the sanctuary, the apolitical sanctuary in our economy, that otherwise brings us together, whether we’re Black or White, even whether we’re Democrat or Republican.

  5. Gary Paulsen:

    And it became a sanctuary for me, the librarian -- she watched me for a while. I was kind of this urchin, you know, a street urchin. Then she finally said, you want something ? I said, nah I'm OK. And she gave me a card and -- hard to talk about it. It was a card with my name on it. And, God, nobody had given me anything like that. Nobody gave me anything.

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Translations for sanctuary

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"sanctuary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sanctuary>.

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    an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting
    A decline
    B tranquillity
    C integrity
    D nuisance

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