- a sacred or holy place.
- the Biblical tabernacle or the Temple in Jerusalem.
- the holy of holies of these places of worship.
- an especially holy place in a temple or church.
- the part of a church around the altar; the chancel.
- a church or other sacred place where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest.
- immunity afforded by refuge in such a place.
- any place of refuge; asylum.
- a tract of land where birds and wildlife, especially those hunted for sport, can breed and take refuge in safety from hunters.
Origin of sanctuary
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sanctuary
He hits bottom at Rocamadour, a sanctuary in the Dordogne known as a citadel of faith devoted to Mary.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President
January 9, 2015
“Sanctuary for all, community for all, etc, etc.” So he was on the road to community, you know?‘Walking Dead’ Showrunner Scott Gimple Teases ‘Darker, Weirder’ Times Ahead
December 2, 2014
As Yellowstone bears increasingly wander outside the sanctuary of the park, they run an ever-greater risk of getting shot.What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
The sanctuary the phantom callers promise comes with a price.The Walking Dead’s Luke Skywalker: Rick Grimes Is the Perfect Modern-Day Mythical Hero
October 28, 2014
Excessive tourism could lead to a more rapid destruction of this sanctuary.What Made Mexico’s Most Mysterious Beach?
October 14, 2014
She said she'd 'see what mood she was in,' after the others had finished with the sanctuary.
Soon Biddy and I had—or seemed to have—the sanctuary to ourselves.
Her portrait is sold, but it is hung no where, in no sanctuary.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
He could tolerate no irreverent spirits in the sanctuary of the mountain.Mountain Meditations
Proverbs, like the sacred books of each nation, are the sanctuary of the intuitions.Essays, First Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
- a holy place
- a consecrated building or shrine
- Old Testament
- the Israelite temple at Jerusalem, esp the holy of holies
- the tabernacle in which the Ark was enshrined during the wanderings of the Israelites
- the chancel, or that part of a sacred building surrounding the main altar
- a sacred building where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest or execution
- the immunity so afforded
- a place of refuge; asylum
- a place, protected by law, where animals, esp birds, can live and breed without interference
Word Origin and History for sanctuary
early 14c., "building set apart for holy worship," from Anglo-French sentuarie, Old French saintuaire "sacred relic, holy thing; reliquary, sanctuary," from Late Latin sanctuarium "a sacred place, shrine" (especially the Hebrew Holy of Holies; see sanctum), also "a private room," from Latin sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)).
Since the time of Constantine and by medieval Church law, fugitives or debtors enjoyed immunity from arrest in certain churches, hence transferred sense of "immunity from punishment" (late 14c.). Exceptions were made in England in cases of treason and sacrilege. General (non-ecclesiastical) sense of "place of refuge or protection" is attested from 1560s; as "land set aside for wild plants or animals to breed and live" it is recorded from 1879.