- Obs. a sanctuary, as a temple, where criminals, debtors, etc. were safe from arrest
- a place where one is safe and secure; refuge
- the protection given by a sanctuary or refuge or by one country to refugees from another country
- an institution for the care of the mentally ill, or of the aged, the poor, etc.: in this sense, largely replaced by such terms as mental (or psychiatric) hospital, nursing home, etc.
Origin of asylumClassical Latin from Classical Greek asylon from asylos, inviolable from a-, without + sylon, right of seizure