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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sacred or holy place.
  • n. A private place where one is free from intrusion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A place set apart, as with a sanctum sanctorum; a private retreat or workroom. A sacred or private place.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sacred place; hence, a place of retreat; a room reserved for personal use.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sacred place; a private retreat or room: as, an editor's sanctum.
  • n. Any specially private place or retreat, not to be entered except by special permission or favor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sacred place of pilgrimage
  • n. a place of inviolable privacy


Late Latin sānctum, from Latin, neuter of sānctus, sacred; see sanctify.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sānctum ("that which is holy"). (Wiktionary)


  • Department, "while beyond this second sanctum was a third door which led into the _sanctum sanctorum_ with its unexpected exit upon a narrow back hallway and a dusty flight of stairs by which it was possible without undue publicity to reach the street or, rather, the back lane where carters made deliveries.

    Every Man for Himself

  • The latter was out, so Frank accompanied his friend to what he called his sanctum,

    By Sheer Pluck, a Tale of the Ashanti War

  • Around professional sports, these lockers tend to be the most coveted by athletes, providing a quick escape from the media whenever the players 'inner sanctum is open to public inspection.

    One Jet's Upside-Down Dream

  • When your inner sanctum is full of the type people with the characters that Bush relies on to tell him how to do his job, then what does anybody expect from the President.

    Think Progress » 60 Minutes: CIA Official Reveals Bush, Cheney, Rice Were Personally Told Iraq Had No WMD in Fall 2002

  • Built in the late 19th century, this shingle-style home in Cutchogue, N.Y., features a library with a hidden door leading to an office known as the 'sanctum.'

    Waterfront in Long Island

  • The tall bookshelf shown at right is a hidden door leading to an office known as the 'sanctum.'

    Waterfront in Long Island

  • The sanctum was a trifle larger than the outer room, but almost equally bare; half-a-dozen deed-boxes were piled up in one corner.

    Australia Felix

  • His sanctum was a large corner room brightened by French doors and ringed by a balcony.

    Over the Edge

  • At the center of the sanctum was an immense black stone attached to a heavy chain, which in turn was held by an iron bar whose two ends were buried in the masonry of the wall.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

  • The saloon is entered from forward; about one-third of its length at the after-end is shut off by doors, forming the ladies 'sanctum, which is provided with sofas, arm-chairs, piano, &c.; about one-fifth of the length at the foremost-end, but not separated in any way, is the smoking-place, with the bar quite handy, and the stove in the centre.

    Lands of the Slave and the Free Cuba, the United States, and Canada


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