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[sangk-shuh n] /ˈsæŋk ʃən/
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.
  1. a provision of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience.
  2. 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
Related forms
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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Examples from the web for sanctioned
  • Arranges student transportation, meals, and lodging for sanctioned programs and events.
  • Wildly popular for ending the war, he has sanctioned an epic personality cult.
  • Life cannot be sanctioned by vengeful actions or riotous demonstrations.
  • Today marks the first officially sanctioned airmail flight.
  • The decided to hold officially sanctioned races once a year.
  • They are sanctioned by the college for a specific purpose.
  • The thing is, you have a sanctioned pulpit from which to speak regularly.
  • There is government sanctioned genocide taking place and half the world has is not even aware.
  • It is unclear whether similar methods may still be officially sanctioned.
  • But it has been worse--a history of atrocities sanctioned by the majesty of the law.
British Dictionary definitions for sanctioned


final permission; authorization
aid or encouragement
something, such as an ethical principle, that imparts binding force to a rule, oath, etc
the penalty laid down in a law for contravention of its provisions
(often pl) a coercive measure, esp one taken by one or more states against another guilty of violating international law
verb (transitive)
to give authority to; permit
to make authorized; confirm
Derived Forms
sanctionable, adjective
sanctioner, noun
sanctionless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin sanctiō the establishment of an inviolable decree, from sancīre to decree
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
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Word Origin and History for sanctioned



early 15c., "confirmation or enactment of a law," from Latin sanctionem (nominative sanctio) "act of decreeing or ordaining," also "decree, ordinance," noun of action from past participle stem of sancire "to decree, confirm, ratify, make sacred" (see saint (n.)). Originally especially of ecclesiastical decrees.


1778, "confirm by sanction, make valid or binding;" 1797 as "to permit authoritatively;" from sanction (n.). Seemingly contradictory meaning "impose a penalty on" is from 1956 but is rooted in an old legalistic sense of the noun. Related: Sanctioned; sanctioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for sanctioned


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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