- authoritative permission or approval, as for an action.
- something that serves to support an action, condition, etc.
- something that gives binding force, as to an oath, rule of conduct, etc.
- a provision of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience.
- the penalty or reward.
- International Law. action by one or more states toward another state calculated to force it to comply with legal obligations.
- to authorize, approve, or allow: an expression now sanctioned by educated usage.
- to ratify or confirm: to sanction a law.
- to impose a sanction on; penalize, especially by way of discipline.
Origin of sanction
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sanctions
Imam Bheel, as locals call him, was added to a list of worldwide traffickers subject to U.S. sanctions in 2009.The Dangerous Drug-Funded Secret War Between Iran and Pakistan
December 29, 2014
According to Belkovsky, both officials got out in time to escape new Western sanctions.Recession? Devaluation? Inflation? Putin Tells Russia Stay the Course.
December 4, 2014
Rio Tinto also reiterated that holdings in the mine are fully compliant with the current sanctions regime.McCain Helps a Business Partner of Iran
November 13, 2014
UPDATE: "My firm has done nothing to shield anyone or any entity from any sanctions," Goldin told The Daily Beast in an email.Exclusive: Did This Manhattan Firm Help Shield a Russian Fund From Sanctions?
November 10, 2014
Britain, Europe, U.S.A. made their own sanctions against Russia.Igor Meerson, Russia’s Funniest Export
September 24, 2014
When true hearts meet, there is that within which sanctions their love, and says it is good.A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
Superstition had lent its awful power to the sanctions of religion.
Anything he objects to, or sanctions, I object to, or agree with.The Plunderer
To the workers themselves, on the other hand, such actions have all the sanctions of conscience.Socialism
Mamma sanctions the gift, so you need have no scruples about accepting them.Ernest Linwood
Caroline Lee Hentz
- final permission; authorization
- aid or encouragement
- something, such as an ethical principle, that imparts binding force to a rule, oath, etc
- the penalty laid down in a law for contravention of its provisions
- (often plural) a coercive measure, esp one taken by one or more states against another guilty of violating international law
- to give authority to; permit
- to make authorized; confirm
Word Origin and History for sanctions
in international diplomacy, 1919, plural of sanction (n.) in the sense of "part or clause of a law which spells out the penalty for breaking it" (1650s).
early 15c., "confirmation or enactment of a law," from Latin sanctionem (nominative sanctio) "act of decreeing or ordaining," also "decree, ordinance," noun of action from past participle stem of sancire "to decree, confirm, ratify, make sacred" (see saint (n.)). Originally especially of ecclesiastical decrees.
1778, "confirm by sanction, make valid or binding;" 1797 as "to permit authoritatively;" from sanction (n.). Seemingly contradictory meaning "impose a penalty on" is from 1956 but is rooted in an old legalistic sense of the noun. Related: Sanctioned; sanctioning.