Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
  • transitive v. To make holy; purify.
  • transitive v. To give religious sanction to, as with an oath or vow: sanctify a marriage.
  • transitive v. To give social or moral sanction to.
  • transitive v. To make productive of holiness or spiritual blessing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make holy; to consecrate. Set aside for sacred or ceremonial use.
  • v. To free from sin; to purify.
  • v. To make acceptable or useful under religious law or practice.
  • v. To endorse with religious sanction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make sacred or holy; to set apart to a holy or religious use; to consecrate by appropriate rites; to hallow.
  • transitive v. To make free from sin; to cleanse from moral corruption and pollution; to purify.
  • transitive v. To make efficient as the means of holiness; to render productive of holiness or piety.
  • transitive v. To impart or impute sacredness, venerableness, inviolability, title to reverence and respect, or the like, to; to secure from violation; to give sanction to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make holy or clean, either ceremonially or morally and spiritually; purify or free from sin.
  • To consecrate; set apart from a common to a sacred use; hallow or render sacred; invest with a sacred or elevated character: said of things or persons.
  • To make efficient as a means of holiness; render productive of spiritual blessing.
  • To make free from guilt; give a religious or a legal sanction to.
  • To keep pure; render inviolable.
  • To celebrate or confess as holy.
  • Synonyms To hallow.

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

  • v. make pure or free from sin or guilt
  • v. render holy by means of religious rites

Etymologies

Middle English seintefien, sanctifien, from Old French saintifier, from Late Latin sānctificāre : Latin sānctus, holy, from past participle of sancīre, to consecrate; see sak- in Indo-European roots + Latin -ficāre, -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin sānctificō, from Latin sānctus ("holy") + faciō ("do, make"). (Wiktionary)

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