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[sangk-tuh m] /ˈsæŋk təm/
noun, plural sanctums, sancta
[sangk-tuh] /ˈsæŋk tə/ (Show IPA)
a sacred or holy place.
an inviolably private place or retreat.
Origin of sanctum
1570-80; noun use of neuter of Latin sānctus; see Sanctus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sanctum
  • University administration and teaching are cozy careers in which the inner-sanctum is made cleverly untouchable.
  • The reporter is relayed into the innermost sanctum by a succession of richly clothed attendants.
  • None have made it into the inner-management sanctum.
  • The lawns in the inner sanctum are freshly mown and watered.
  • Yet, oddly, both were released by media groups that do not fit strictly inside the conglomerates' inner sanctum.
  • They get to go out and be the window dressing but they're not in that inner sanctum.
  • The inner sanctum holds a series of computers and components stacked floor to ceiling.
  • If you cannot maintain minimal security in the inner sanctum of your own capital, then security itself is a misnomer.
  • For this offense the old-fashioned noisy typewriter has been banished from the inner sanctum of thousands of private offices.
  • Each summer had two parents' weekends, during which brash visitors invaded the sanctum.
British Dictionary definitions for sanctum


noun (pl) -tums, -ta (-tə)
a sacred or holy place
a room or place of total privacy or inviolability
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from sanctus holy
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 sanctum

1570s, "holy place of the Jewish tabernacle," from Latin sanctum "a holy place," as in Late Latin sanctum sanctorum "holy of holies" (translating Greek to hagion ton hagion, translating Hebrew qodesh haqqodashim), from neuter of sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)). In English, sanctum sanctorum attested from c.1400; in sense of "a person's private retreat" from 1706.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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