- a provision of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience.
- the penalty or reward.
verb (used with object)
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Origin of sanction
OTHER WORDS FROM sanction
Words nearby sanction
What does sanction mean?
Sanction has two main senses that are almost opposites: it can refer to authorizing or approving something, or to penalizing or disciplining someone or something.
Sanction can be used as a verb (meaning to authorize or to penalize) or a noun (meaning approval or penalty). It is most commonly used in official contexts. As a noun referring to a penalty, it is especially applied to situations in which one country’s government imposes economic sanctions on another to try to force it to comply with laws or certain expectations.
Example: Economic sanctions are intended to force regimes to play by the rules, but they often end up hurting the average citizen.
Where does sanction come from?
The first records of sanction come from the 1500s. It is derived from the Latin sancīre, meaning “to decree” or “to prescribe by law.” Sancīre also means “to make holy” and is the root of words like sanctify and sanctuary.
Sanction originally referred to an official decree, but by the 1800s it had acquired its senses of both approval and punishment and had come to be used as both a verb and a noun. Today, sanction is commonly used in phrases like economic sanctions or international sanctions. A country might place sanctions (such as restrictions on trade and financial transactions) on another country as a penalty for violating international law or as a way of trying to force that country to adhere to certain laws or rules.
Sanction meaning “authorize” is also often used in the context of government actions, especially those officially approved by a top official, like the president. But it can be used for any official approval, such as by an organization that has sanctioned (certified) events to take place (these are often called sanctioned events).
Because it has meanings that are nearly the opposite of each other, sanction can be considered a contranym or a Janus word (a reference to the Roman god Janus, who is often shown with two heads facing opposite directions).
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What are some other forms related to sanction?
- sanctionable (adjective)
- sanctioner (noun)
- sanctionative (adjective)
- sanctionless (adjective)
What are some synonyms for sanction?
What are some words that share a root or word element with sanction?
What are some words that often get used in discussing sanction?
How is sanction used in real life?
Sanction is perhaps most commonly used as a plural noun to refer to penalties levied by nations against other nations. It is also commonly used as a verb in the context of officially approving something.
— Rikard Jozwiak (@RikardJozwiak) June 28, 2017
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 5, 2020
Kudos to the @wsl for taking a stand for equality and supporting their female athletes. As of 2019, male and female surfers will receive the same prize money at all World Surf League sanctioned events.#CatchThisWave
— Barry Tuck (@BarryTuck) September 6, 2018
Try using sanction!
Is sanction used correctly in the following sentence?
I’m the top person in charge, and I never sanctioned this event, so it is not official.
Example sentences from the Web for sanction
At a time the EU wants to impose sanctions on Belarus over the crackdown on peaceful protesters there, Greece and Cyprus are quietly holding that plan to ransom — insisting they’ll only sign on if Turkey too is placed under sanctions.Butterfly Effect: The Next U.S.-Russia Conflict Theater Could be the Mediterranean|Charu Kasturi|September 17, 2020|Ozy
China telecom manufacturer Huawei Technologies is facing new sanctions in the United States.‘Work to your strength’: Huawei’s CTO weighs in on U.S. efforts to build a Huawei alternative|Veta Chan|August 20, 2020|Fortune
This could stimulate a movement for deeper sanctions against Putin.
The EU imposed sanctions after similar repressive actions following the 2010 election, and some member states are already raising the possibility of applying them again.Belarus Election: Contested Result Sparks Massive Unrest As Europe’s ‘Last Dictator’ Claims Victory|LGBTQ-Editor|August 12, 2020|No Straight News
Disciplinary sanctions are few and reserved for the most egregious cases.
Cameron has already begun securing support in Parliament for a vote that would sanction attacks in the coming days.ISIS Murder of British Hostage Likely to Draw UK Deeper Into New War|Nico Hines|September 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
“Russia is bigger than all of our previous sanction targets put together,” he said.NATO Plans New Military Outposts to Stop Putin—Just Don't Call Them Bases|Eli Lake|September 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
As a result of these findings, Brown University is imposing the following sanction: Suspension until Fall 2014.
If the U.S. moves to sanction Putin and his pals next week, Moscow will definitely strike back.White House Braces for Russian Retaliation Over Ukraine|Josh Rogin|March 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will mark up legislation to give aid to Ukraine and sanction Russia.
Indeed, this symbol is no less appropriate than the one just considered, and has equally the sanction of Scripture.The Catacombs of Rome|William Henry Withrow
He was desired by the speaker to withdraw, as no affirmation could be made without the sanction of the house.The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III.|E. Farr and E. H. Nolan
They became engaged, and Gibbon implored her to marry him without waiting for the sanction of his father.
Play-writers heralded it on the stage, bestowing upon it the passport of literary sanction.A Cursory History of Swearing|Julian Sharman
In the following year it gave its sanction to a similar proposal by the Bradford Board of Guardians.English Poor Law Policy|Sidney Webb