American English

Definition of sanctuary noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (pl. sanctuaries)
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  1. 1[countable] an area where wild birds or animals are protected and encouraged to breed synonym reserve a bird/wildlife sanctuary
  2. 2[uncountable] safety and protection, especially for people who are being chased or attacked to take sanctuary in a place The government offered sanctuary to 4,000 refugees. She longed for the sanctuary of her own home. a place of sanctuary
  3. 3[countable, usually singular] a safe place, especially one where people who are being chased or attacked can stay and be protected The church became a sanctuary for the refugees.
  4. 4[countable] a holy building or the part of it that is considered the most holy the sanctuary of Poseidon at Sourvion Women were forbidden to enter the sanctuary.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sanctuary