- (especially formerly) an institution for the maintenance and care of the mentally ill, orphans, or other persons requiring specialized assistance.
- an inviolable refuge, as formerly for criminals and debtors; sanctuary: He sought asylum in the church.
- International Law.
- a refuge granted an alien by a sovereign state on its own territory.
- a temporary refuge granted political offenders, especially in a foreign embassy.
- any secure retreat.
Origin of asylum
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for asylum
This is because the only location that debate could take place would be in an asylum.Freedom From Fear for Dreamer Kids
November 24, 2014
Others believe Israel should be more welcoming to asylum seekers, considering it was founded by Jewish refugees.Gay Palestinians In Israel: The 'Invisible Men'
August 13, 2014
Immigration judges in El Paso have among the lowest rates of asylum approval in the country.How the U.S. Sold Out Indian Asylum Seekers on the Border
August 11, 2014
But his asylum was rejected, thanks to the blurring of lines that intelligence assets are often mired in.When the Son of Hamas Spied for Israel
August 5, 2014
So when I get caught and they take me out from the asylum to lynch me, I check myself back into the asylum.Scott Haze on Playing a Necrophiliac in ‘Child of God’ and Naked Paintballing with James Franco
August 3, 2014
He threatens with all the rigour of the law those who dare to give his wife an asylum.De Libris: Prose and Verse
Advocated with more heat than light by the outmates of every asylum for the insane.The Devil's Dictionary
They picked up the ladder and looked toward the asylum building.
Had the asylum authorities found out about it and removed his father?
It had been strung by some of the asylum attendants and was a private wire.
- a safe or inviolable place of refuge, esp as formerly offered by the Christian Church to criminals, outlaws, etc; sanctuary (often in the phrase give asylum to)
- shelter; refuge
- international law refuge afforded to a person whose extradition is sought by a foreign governmentpolitical asylum
- obsolete an institution for the shelter, treatment, or confinement of individuals, esp a mental hospital (formerly termed lunatic asylum)
Word Origin and History for asylum
early 15c., earlier asile (late 14c.), from Latin asylum "sanctuary," from Greek asylon "refuge," noun use of neuter of asylos "inviolable, safe from violence," especially of persons seeking protection, from a- "without" + syle "right of seizure." So literally "an inviolable place." General sense of "safe or secure place" is from 1640s; meaning "benevolent institution to shelter some class of persons" is from 1776.
- An institution for the care of people, especially individuals with physical or mental impairments, who require organized supervision or assistance.