[ sangk-tuh m ]
/ ˈsæŋk təm /

noun, plural sanc·tums, sanc·ta [sangk-tuh] /ˈsæŋk tə/.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sanctum

British Dictionary definitions for sanctum


/ (ˈsæŋktəm) /

noun plural -tums or -ta (-tə)

a sacred or holy place
a room or place of total privacy or inviolability

Word Origin for sanctum

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

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