Definition of sanctify in English:


verbsanctified, sanctifies, sanctifying

[with object]
  • 1Set apart as or declare holy; consecrate.

    ‘a small shrine was built to sanctify the site’
    • ‘Earlier in the day, he said the Dalai Lama was scheduled to sanctify a Buddhist temple in Elista, the Kalmyk capital, and that no meetings with Russian officials were planned.’
    • ‘Formal Victorian monuments are no longer enough, it seems, to evoke memory and sanctify the sacred.’
    • ‘It was for the solemn task of protecting and sanctifying the ducal resting place that Philip chose the most austere of the religious orders.’
    • ‘Yet cattle, the possession sacrificed by male elders to sanctify rituals of ukuzila, were dying off.’
    • ‘This historic church has been sanctified by the prayers and praises of countless thousands who have worshipped within its walls.’
    • ‘Rituals by the Converted temporarily sanctify specific locations - a house, the market square, a crossroads, a beach - for services they hold there.’
    • ‘They sanctified the Holy Days and consecrated the marriage vows.’
    • ‘To some extent the earth sanctified by the priest may be regarded as a Christian item.’
    • ‘As the promising young Christian leader in his rural South African village, James is dispatched on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, an experience intended to sanctify his succession as the next pastor.’
    • ‘The use of Catholic ritual to sanctify the Revolution parallels the crucial role that the Church played in the events of 1789 and 1790.’
    • ‘It's an awesome place and the Celts associated it with their Goddess of Waters, Sul, sanctifying it into a shrine.’
    consecrate, make holy, make sacred, bless, hallow, set apart, dedicate to god, anoint, ordain, canonize, beatify
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Make legitimate or binding by a religious ceremony.
      ‘their love is sanctified by the sacrament of marriage’
      • ‘Nine monks performed a ritual ceremony to sanctify the shrine, and blessed the local residents and the surrounding area.’
      • ‘And insofar as it's sanctified by a religious ceremony, that's up to the churches involved.’
      • ‘Legal institutions brought over from England at the founding of the colonies defined all these dependent relationships (except slavery) and powerful religious traditions sanctified them.’
      • ‘An assembly of 90 monks conducted Buddhist ritual chants and prayers sanctifying the ceremony.’
      • ‘Starting at 9 a.m. on Friday May 11, nine monks performed a religious ceremony to sanctify the new branch office.’
      • ‘This ‘religious’ object is now sanctified daily by priests with poojas.’
      • ‘Larger Orthodox churches are often constructed in a cross in-square configuration, and all contain an icon screen separating the sanctuary where communion bread and wine are sanctified from the rest of the building.’
      • ‘They sanctified the ground and declared that should whites attempt to attack the Red Sticks here, their bullets would fall harmlessly to the ground.’
      • ‘It was sanctified in the public sphere by religion as well as by the power of kinship.’
      • ‘Newborns are sanctified by prayer and undergo head-shaving and naming ceremonies.’
      • ‘Mother Theresa, to be sanctified next spring, once said that she sometimes prayed for 24 hours.’
      • ‘The grave was then dug, if this had not already been done, and sanctified by a priest with holy water and incense.’
      • ‘A revered monk performs a ritual ceremony to sanctify the signs at each of the guesthouses at her Ban Ruan Thai Kalae.’
      • ‘Thus, hand fasted relationships could be broken as they were not sanctified by Holy Church, a nasty invidious Norman custom that was just coming in.’
      • ‘Building a family through a marriage sanctified by a religious ceremony is considered one of the most sacred aspects of life.’
      • ‘For good measure, it has been built to vaastu specifications and, before its departure, was sanctified by Judev at a special ceremony where 101 coconuts were broken and a goat sacrificed!’
      • ‘Bait Hillel states that first you bless the wine then sanctify the Shabbat.’
      • ‘They turned to Dutch religious rituals to sanctify their marriages and to validate their babies as Christians to enhance their chances for emancipation.’
      • ‘Last Monday at 11 a.m., 9 monks led religious ceremonies to sanctify the occasion and create solidarity among the 1,500 plus local government employees.’
      • ‘Despite the doomsday rhetoric, I have yet to see a single example of how a particular class of citizens sanctifying their union via marriage will wreck that institution.’
      approve, sanction, give the stamp of approval to, underwrite, condone, justify, vindicate, endorse, support, back, ratify, confirm, warrant, permit, allow, accredit, authorize, legitimize, legitimatize
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Free from sin; purify.
      ‘may God sanctify his soul’
      • ‘The church will sanctify your body and soul on Sundays.’
      • ‘And while this play deals, like all his work, with the conflict between the poetic soul and materialism, I feel Williams sanctifies the dead Sebastian.’
      • ‘The young curate replied that ‘a strong faith in the Incarnation and the Real Presence of Jesus Christ sanctifies all human things [,] not excluding human mirth and beauty’.’
      • ‘Jesus Christ returns to his followers and breathes on them the power of forgiving love, thus restoring and re-commissioning them for the work of healing and sanctifying the world - a new creation.’
      • ‘That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.’
      purify, cleanse, free from sin, absolve, unburden, redeem, exculpate, wash someone's sins away
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Cause to be or seem morally right or acceptable.
      ‘ancient customs that are sanctified by tradition’
      • ‘On the one hand, Michelangelo sought to restore the devotional image, strengthening its hold on a new cut of viewer; on the other, he aimed to sanctify the modern aesthetic, linking Renaissance techniques back into archaic types.’
      • ‘At home, womanhood was idealized and sanctified, while women themselves were denied such basic rights of citizenship as the vote.’
      • ‘As a joke, it succeeds marvelously, taking square aim at the government that borrows from the perceived grandeur of the British colonial era to sanctify the art made by its own citizens.’
      • ‘Those terms were settled, and indeed sanctified, in the long struggle down the centuries to the founding and then to the preservation, the protection and the defence of our liberal representative democracy.’
      • ‘By model and practice, families nested children in webs of relationships, sanctified through kin or kin-like (idiomatic kin) moralities.’


Late Middle English: from Old French saintifier (influenced later by sanctifier), from ecclesiastical Latin sanctificare, from Latin sanctus ‘holy’.