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[sangk-tuh m] /ˈsæŋk təm/
noun, plural sanctums, sancta
[sangk-tuh] /ˈsæŋk tə/ (Show IPA)
a sacred or holy place.
an inviolably private place or retreat.
Origin of sanctum
1570-80; noun use of neuter of Latin sānctus; see Sanctus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sanctum
Historical Examples
  • As soon as Pierre was alone in the Cardinal's sanctum he examined it with curiosity.

  • I summon my companion, who joins me, and we enter our sanctum.

  • "So this is her sanctum," thinks her husband, glancing around.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • I then called on Wendell Phillips in his sanctum for the same purpose.

    Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz
  • In the sanctum was Devi, a large black figure with ten arms.

    Vikram and the Vampire Richard F. Burton
  • It was only when they were in the safety of their own sanctum that she fully unbosomed herself.

  • They have smoked the sanctum very blue, and are full of apologies.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor

    Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • On the fourth floor we come to the sanctum of the great man himself.

    Once a Week Alan Alexander Milne
  • The whole place was in fact a sanctum of the collector's spirit.

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • My father bowed, but made no reply, and the son followed the father into the sanctum.

    Desk and Debit Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for sanctum


noun (pl) -tums, -ta (-tə)
a sacred or holy place
a room or place of total privacy or inviolability
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from sanctus holy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sanctum

1570s, "holy place of the Jewish tabernacle," from Latin sanctum "a holy place," as in Late Latin sanctum sanctorum "holy of holies" (translating Greek to hagion ton hagion, translating Hebrew qodesh haqqodashim), from neuter of sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)). In English, sanctum sanctorum attested from c.1400; in sense of "a person's private retreat" from 1706.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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