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n. pl. sanc·tu·ar·ies
a. A sacred place, such as a church, temple, or mosque.
b. The holiest part of a sacred place, as the part of a Christian church around the altar.
a. A sacred place, such as a church, in which fugitives formerly were immune to arrest.
b. Immunity to arrest afforded by a sanctuary: sought sanctuary in the church.
c. The condition of being protected or comforted: "Women such as herself tended to ... seek sanctuary in religion" (Paul Scott). See Synonyms at shelter.
a. A place of refuge or asylum.
b. A reserved area in which birds and other animals, especially wild animals, are protected from hunting or disturbance.

[Middle English, from Old French sainctuarie, from Late Latin sānctuārium, from Latin sānctus, sacred; see sanctify.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -aries
1. (Ecclesiastical Terms) a holy place
2. (Ecclesiastical Terms) a consecrated building or shrine
3. (Bible) Old Testament
a. the Israelite temple at Jerusalem, esp the holy of holies
b. the tabernacle in which the Ark was enshrined during the wanderings of the Israelites
4. (Ecclesiastical Terms) the chancel, or that part of a sacred building surrounding the main altar
5. (Ecclesiastical Terms)
a. a sacred building where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest or execution
b. the immunity so afforded
6. a place of refuge; asylum
7. (Biology) a place, protected by law, where animals, esp birds, can live and breed without interference
[C14: from Old French sainctuarie, from Late Latin sanctuārium repository for holy things, from Latin sanctus holy]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈsæŋk tʃuˌɛr i)

n., pl. -ar•ies.
1. a sacred or holy place.
2. Judaism.
a. the Biblical tabernacle or the Temple in Jerusalem.
b. the holy of holies of these places of worship.
3. an esp. holy place in a temple or church, as the chancel.
4. a church or other sacred place formerly providing refuge, esp. immunity from arrest.
5. the protection provided by such a place.
6. any place of refuge; asylum.
7. a tract of land where wildlife can live and breed in safety from hunters; preserve.
[1325–75; Middle English seintuarie, san(c)tuarie (< Old French saintuaire) < Latin sānctuārium=sānct(us) holy (see Sanctus) + -uārium]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


A nation or area near or contiguous to the combat area that, by tacit agreement between the warring powers, is exempt from attack and therefore serves as a refuge for staging, logistic, or other activities of the combatant powers.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.



glory hole A container for the storage of ornaments, personal effects, and other paraphernalia. This term originally referred to a room where the war medals and decorations of a former soldier were stored. The expression is used today to describe any receptacle filled with useless items of sentimental value.

You can bring out your old ribbon-box … It’s a charity to clear out your glory-holes once in a while. (Adeline Whitney, We Girls, 1871)

ivory tower A condition of isolation or seclusion from worldly or practical affairs; a sheltered, protected existence removed from the harsh realities of life; an attitude of aloofness or distance from the mainstream of society. The original term appears to have been the French tour d’ivoire first used by the French literary critic Sainte-Beuve in reference to the French writer Alfred Victor de Vigny in his book Pensées d’Août (1837). The expression appeared in English in Brereton and Rothwell’s translation of Bergson’s Laughter (1911):

Each member [of society] must be ever attentive to his social surroundings … he must avoid shutting himself up in his own peculiar character as a philosopher in his ivory tower.

The term has spawned the noun ivory-tow-erism and the adjectives ivory-towerish and ivory-towered ‘impractical, theoretical, removed from reality.’

sanctum sanctorum A hideaway; a room or other place where one can seek refuge from his everyday concerns; a haven or sanctuary. Literally, the sanctum sanctorum (Latin, ‘sanctuary of sanctuaries’) is the Holy of Holies, a room in Biblical tabernacles and Jewish temples which only the high priest is allowed to enter, and then only on Yom Kippur, the Great Day of Atonement. By extension, sanctum sanctorum has been applied to any private, peaceful place such as a cabin in the woods or the den in a house which is not to be violated by intruders.

We went by appointment to the archbishop confessor’s and were immediately admitted into his sanctum sanctorum, a snug apartment … (Peter Beckford, Familiar Letters From Italy, 1834)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sanctuary - a consecrated place where sacred objects are keptsanctuary - a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept
holy of holies, sanctum sanctorum - (Judaism) sanctuary comprised of the innermost chamber of the Tabernacle in the temple of Solomon where the Ark of the Covenant was kept
Tabernacle - (Judaism) a portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant on their exodus
place, property - any area set aside for a particular purpose; "who owns this place?"; "the president was concerned about the property across from the White House"
2.sanctuary - a shelter from danger or hardship
harbor, harbour - a place of refuge and comfort and security
safehold - a refuge from attack
safe house - a house used as a hiding place or refuge by members of certain organizations
shelter - a structure that provides privacy and protection from danger
3.sanctuary - area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choirsanctuary - area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir; often enclosed by a lattice or railing
area - a part of a structure having some specific characteristic or function; "the spacious cooking area provided plenty of room for servants"
choir - the area occupied by singers; the part of the chancel between sanctuary and nave
church building, church - a place for public (especially Christian) worship; "the church was empty"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. protection, shelter, refuge, haven, retreat, asylum Some of them have sought sanctuary in the church.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. A sacred or holy place:
2. Something that physically protects, especially from danger:
3. The state of being protected or safeguarded, as from danger or hardship:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مَكان مُقَدَّس، مَعْبَدمَلجأ، مَلاذمِنْطَقَه يُحْظَر فيها صَيْد الطُّيور
asylhelligt stedreservat
griîastaîurheilagur staîur, helgistaîurverndarsvæîi


[ˈsæŋktjʊərɪ] N (Rel) → santuario m (fig) (= refuge) → asilo m; (for wildlife) → reserva f
to seek sanctuaryacogerse a sagrado
to seek sanctuary inrefugiarse en
to seek sanctuary withacogerse a
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈsæŋktʃuəri] n
(= holy place) → sanctuaire m
(= refuge) → asile m
(for wild life)réserve f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= holy place)Heiligtum nt; (= altar sanctuary)Altarraum m
(= refuge)Zuflucht f; to seek sanctuary withZuflucht suchen bei
(for animals) → Schutzgebiet nt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈsæŋktjʊərɪ] n (Rel) → santuario (fig) (Pol) (refuge) → asilo; (for wildlife, birds) → riserva
to seek sanctuary → cercare asilo
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈsӕŋktʃuəri) plural ˈsanctuaries noun
1. a holy or sacred place. the sanctuary of the god Apollo.
2. a place of safety from eg arrest. In earlier times a criminal could use a church as a sanctuary.
3. an area of land in which the killing of wild animals etc is forbidden. a bird sanctuary.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Monseigneur was in his inner room, his sanctuary of sanctuaries, the Holiest of Holiests to the crowd of worshippers in the suite of rooms without.
He informs Oedipus that a stranger who has taken sanctuary at the altar of Poseidon wishes to see him.
The gates of the sanctuary screen were closed, the curtain was slowly drawn, and from behind it a soft mysterious voice pronounced some words.
As in decapitating the whale, the operator's instrument is brought close to the spot where an entrance is subsequently forced into the spermaceti magazine; he has, therefore, to be uncommonly heedful, lest a careless, untimely stroke should invade the sanctuary and wastingly let out its invaluable contents.
A thousand years, Haply ten thousand, hence the fox shall make His fastness in thy tomb, the weasel take Her young to thy dim sanctuary. Such is the lot For ever of the great and wise, Whose tombs around us rise; Man honours where the grave remembers not.
Unfortunately, Thedora, who, with her sweeping and polishing, makes a perfect sanctuary of my room, is not over-pleased at the arrangement.
And out of reverence for the goal and the heir, he will hang up no more withered wreaths in the sanctuary of life.
Then, the Sacristan locks the iron-barred gates that divide the sanctuary from the chancel, and all of the procession having scuttled into their places, hide their faces; and then the intoned words, 'WHEN THE WICKED MAN--' rise among groins of arches and beams of roof, awakening muttered thunder.
I have never allowed you to roam through all the chambers of my consciousness, but I keep a sanctuary there for you alone, and will keep it inviolate for you always.
There were those who always would welcome him with open arms; who would accept him as a friend and brother, and with whom he might find sanctuary from every enemy.
"Verily it is neither-but beware how thou lettest the rope slip too rapidly through thy fingers; for should the wicker-work chance to hang on the projection of Yonder crag, there will be a woful outpouring of the holy things of the sanctuary."
Boythorn continues to post tremendous placards on the disputed thoroughfare and (with his bird upon his head) to hold forth vehemently against Sir Leicester in the sanctuary of his own home; similarly, also, he defies him as of old in the little church by testifying a bland unconsciousness of his existence.