n. pl. sanc·tu·ar·ies
a. A sacred place, such as a church, temple, or mosque.
b. The holiest part of a sacred place, as the part of a Christian church around the altar.
a. A sacred place, such as a church, in which fugitives formerly were immune to arrest.
b. Immunity to arrest afforded by a sanctuary: sought sanctuary in the church.
c. The condition of being protected or comforted: "Women such as herself tended to ... seek sanctuary in religion" (Paul Scott). See Synonyms at shelter.
a. A place of refuge or asylum.
b. A reserved area in which birds and other animals, especially wild animals, are protected from hunting or disturbance.
[Middle English, from Old French sainctuarie, from Late Latin sānctuārium, from Latin sānctus, sacred; see SANCTIFY.]
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