One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The holy of holies in the Jewish temple.
holy place, shrine, sanctuary, altar, inner sanctum, holy of holiesView synonyms
- ‘But there was no such ornament in the sanctum sanctorum, as appears by the silence of all the Jewish writers, and the direct testimony of Josephus, who affirms, in express words, that there is nothing at all in the sanctum sanctorum.’
- 1.1humorous A very private or highly secret place or area of activity.‘the sanctum sanctorums of foreign policy’
- ‘Equally striking was that he earned the warmest welcome from the audience, which in its front ranks was composed of Cabinet ministers and diplomats, with the general public to the rear, beyond the sanctum sanctorum of the VIP area.’
- ‘Now for Cola companies to allow those lucky few winners to enter the game's arena during the course of a match violates one its sanctum sanctorum.’
- ‘The sancta sanctorum, guarded by three sad-looking security staffers, is the podium, where I count roughly one hundred seats.’
- ‘With the cameras of the world focused on it, St. Peter's has become the sancta sanctorum of the digital world.’
- ‘While he naps, she pokes around his wife's old bedroom, kept like a sanctum sanctorum, and eventually takes a mink coat from the closet.’
Late Middle English: Latin sanctum (see sanctum) + sanctorum ‘of holy places’, translating Hebrew qōḏeš haqqŏḏāšīm ‘holy of holies’.
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