1. Protection and immunity from extradition granted by a government to a political refugee from another country.
a. A place offering protection and safety; a shelter. See Synonyms at shelter.
b. Protection or shelter; refuge: viewed her friend's apartment as a place of asylum.
c. A place, such as a church, formerly constituting an inviolable refuge for criminals or debtors.
3. An institution for the care of people, especially those with physical or mental disabilities, who require organized supervision or assistance.
[Middle English asilum, refuge, from Latin asȳlum, from Greek asūlon, sanctuary, from neuter of asūlos, inviolable : a-, without; see A-1 + sūlon, right of seizure.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.