Definition of sanctum in English:

sanctum

noun

  • 1A sacred place, especially a shrine within a temple or church:

    ‘an icon installed within the sanctum of the temple’
    • ‘Harmful energy lines include water arteries, underground movements and ore and coal repositories, while ‘power zones’ occur predominately around old churches and pagan sanctums.’
    • ‘The visual stimulation of this wall of images finds a serene counterpart in a small room opening to the right, re-creating the devotional sanctum of a Mouride holy man.’
    • ‘The temple's eastern face could be the traditional entry for the Hindu devotee into the sanctum, and the west designed to enable Muslims to pray facing Mecca.’
    • ‘He took me to the sanctum of the whole church, where the chapel was and I stared at the bright rosaries and the flowered stained windows.’
    • ‘One goat is then sacrificed and its blood sprinkled in the Tabernacle's innermost sanctum, the Holy of Holies.’
    • ‘Idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are worshipped in the main sanctum, which remains still neat and simple and unencumbered by temple paraphernalia.’
    • ‘When the nayika has decided on dedicating her life to Tyagesa, the squares and circles are too elaborate and she seeks a diagonal route straight to the deity in the sanctum.’
    • ‘The statue of the goddess in the sanctum was small and was heavily garlanded with bells and gold borders - offerings made to the goddess for boons granted.’
    • ‘The result is that many Smarta priests are entering the temple sanctums.’
    • ‘Its easier to work with technology these days than it is to find obscure herbs and ingredients, to get proper working tools for the old pagan religions, or to construct proper sanctums for ritual use.’
    • ‘However, in all but the most basic temples, other elements are present, at least a porch, and often an antechamber or antarala, a hall or mandapa, a dwajasthamba or a flag-mast, usually a pillar fixed outside the main shrine in the sanctum.’
    • ‘Thus the upper part of the sanctum assumes a pyramidal shape, which when built would have been at least 40 feet (unfortunately, not much of the temple survives).’
    holy place, shrine, sanctuary, altar, inner sanctum, holy of holies
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  • 2A private place from which most people are excluded:

    ‘he ushered her into his sanctum and gave her something to drink’
    • ‘Swallowing, she determined the noise had come from the deeper sanctums of the library.’
    • ‘The invitation had one condition: no conversation within the sanctum was to be directly reported.’
    • ‘Practically the entire spadework for the organization had already been done within the sanctums of the U.S. Treasury Department.’
    • ‘Where mysteries took readers into the police stations and P.I. offices and onto the streets where messes are cleaned up, the legal thriller takes us into the sanctums where judges and lawyers make those messes.’
    • ‘The NIST chief has to maintain strict operational security and avoid passing any operational details to the Pentagon or other Washington sanctums.’
    refuge, retreat, bolt-hole, foxhole, hideout, hiding place, hideaway, study, den
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Origin

Late 16th century: from Latin, neuter of sanctus holy, from sancire consecrate.

Pronunciation:

sanctum

/ˈsaŋ(k)təm/