authoritative permission or approval, as for an action.
something that serves to support an action, condition, etc.
something that gives binding force, as to an oath, rule of conduct, etc.
a provision of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience.
the penalty or reward.
International Law. action by one or more states toward another state calculated to force it to comply with legal obligations.
verb (used with object)
to authorize, approve, or allow: an expression now sanctioned by educated usage.
to ratify or confirm: to sanction a law.
to impose a sanction on; penalize, especially by way of discipline.

1555–65; < Latin sānctiōn- (stem of sānctiō), equivalent to sānct(us) (past participle of sancīre to prescribe by law) + -iōn- -ion

sanctionable, adjective
sanctionative, adjective
sanctioner, noun
sanctionless, adjective
nonsanction, noun
nonsanctioned, adjective
quasi-sanctioned, adjective
resanction, verb (used with object)
supersanction, verb (used with object), noun
unsanctionable, adjective
unsanctioned, adjective
unsanctioning, adjective
well-sanctioned, adjective

6. permit.

1. disapproval. 6. disapprove. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sanction (ˈsæŋkʃən)
1.  final permission; authorization
2.  aid or encouragement
3.  something, such as an ethical principle, that imparts binding force to a rule, oath, etc
4.  the penalty laid down in a law for contravention of its provisions
5.  (often plural) a coercive measure, esp one taken by one or more states against another guilty of violating international law
6.  to give authority to; permit
7.  to make authorized; confirm
[C16: from Latin sanctiō the establishment of an inviolable decree, from sancīre to decree]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1563, "confirmation or enactment of a law," from L. sanctionem (nom. sanctio) "act of decreeing or ordaining," also "decree, ordinance," from sanctus, pp. of sancire "to decree, confirm, ratify, make sacred" (see saint). Originally especially of ecclesiastical decrees. The
verb sense of "to permit authoritatively" is from 1797. Sanctions, in international diplomacy, first recorded 1919, from sanction (n.) in the sense of "part or clause of a law which spells out the penalty for breaking it" (1651).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in the social sciences, a reaction (or the threat or promise of a reaction) by members of a social group indicating approval or disapproval of a mode of conduct and serving to enforce behavioral standards of the group. Punishment (negative sanction) and reward (positive sanction) regulate conduct in conformity with social norms (see norm). Sanctions may be diffuse-i.e., spontaneous expressions by members of the group acting as individuals-or they may be organized-i.e., actions that follow traditional and recognized procedures. Sanctions therefore include not only the organized punishments of law but also the formal rewards (e.g., honours and titles) and the informal scorn or esteem by members of a community

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The panel has the option of recommending treatment, a small fine, or no
The twilight-realm of phantasy is upheld by the sanction of humanity and every
  hungry soul looks here for help and sympathy.
Because of the dangers, dive organizations refuse to sanction no-limits diving.
They can go abroad, to countries where the authorities sanction or ignore
  payments to living donors.
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