- a holy place, as a building set aside for worship of the divinity or of one or more deities; specif.,
- the ancient Temple at Jerusalem
- a Christian church
- any church or temple
- a particularly holy place within a church or temple, as the part around the altar, the holy of holies in the Jewish Temple, etc.
- a place of refuge or protection; asylum: orig., fugitives from justice were immune from arrest in churches or other sacred places
- immunity from punishment or the law, as by taking refuge in a church, etc.
- a wildlife reservation where animals or birds are sheltered for breeding purposes and may not be hunted or trapped
Origin of sanctuaryMiddle English from Middle French saintuaire from Late Latin sanctuarium from Classical Latin sanctus, sacred: see saint