Definition of asylum noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈsaɪləm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈsaɪləm//
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  1. 1(formal political asylum) [uncountable] protection that a government gives to people who have left their own country, usually because they were in danger for political reasons to seek/apply for/be granted asylum There was a nationwide debate on whether the asylum laws should be changed. See related entries: Immigration
  2. 2[countable] (old use) a hospital where people who were mentally ill could be cared for, often for a long time
  3. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘place of refuge’, especially for criminals): via Latin from Greek asulon ‘refuge’, from asulos ‘inviolable’, from a- ‘without’ + sulon ‘right of seizure’. Current senses date from the 18th cent.Extra examples Over 400 people have been refused asylum. She fled the country, and is now seeking asylum in Sweden. Those fleeing from the war have the right to asylum. bogus/​genuine asylum seekers She was granted political asylum by Canada in 2003. They applied for asylum after being tortured in their own country.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: asylum