Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Protection and immunity from extradition granted by a government to a political refugee from another country.
  • noun A place offering protection and safety; a shelter. synonym: shelter.
  • noun Protection or shelter; refuge.
  • noun A place, such as a church, formerly constituting an inviolable refuge for criminals or debtors.
  • noun An institution for the care of people, especially those with physical or mental impairments, who require organized supervision or assistance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun a phrase used by Spinoza to denote the pronouncing of any matter to be a mystery in order to evade arguments against its reality.
  • noun A sanctuary or place of refuge where criminals and debtors formerly sought shelter from justice, and from which they could not be taken without sacrilege.
  • noun Hence Inviolable shelter; protection from pursuit or arrest; security of the person: as, the right of asylum, that is, of furnishing such protection.
  • noun Any place of retreat and security.
  • noun Specifically An institution for receiving, maintaining, and, so far as possible, ameliorating the condition of persons suffering from bodily defects, mental maladies, or other misfortunes: as, an asylum for the blind, for the deaf and dumb, for the insane, etc.; a magdalen asylum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A sanctuary or place of refuge and protection, where criminals and debtors found shelter, and from which they could not be forcibly taken without sacrilege.
  • noun Any place of retreat and security.
  • noun An institution for the protection or relief of some class of destitute, unfortunate, or afflicted persons

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A place of safety
  • noun The protection, physical and legal, afforded by such a place.
  • noun A place of protection or restraint for one or more classes of the disadvantaged, especially the mentally ill.

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

  • noun a hospital for mentally incompetent or unbalanced person
  • noun a shelter from danger or hardship

Etymologies

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

[Middle English asilum, refuge, from Latin asȳlum, from Greek asūlon, sanctuary, from neuter of asūlos, inviolable : a-, without; see a– + sūlon, right of seizure.]

Examples

  • It stars a few recognisable names and is getting quite a bit of praise for the comical yet relevant look at the people behind the term asylum seekers.

    Filmstalker: Weekend Films to Stalk

  • I think, if anything, it's causing people to look at the term asylum and put it in a 21st century defenition

    Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude

  • I think, if anything, it's causing people to look at the term asylum and put it in a 21st century defenition

    The Common Ills

  • Samantha Haque: Do you think that there's a danger that Andre's case trivializes the term asylum seeker?

    The Common Ills

  • Samantha Haque: Do you think that there's a danger that Andre's case trivializes the term asylum seeker?

    Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude

  • The young woman had recoiled from the word "asylum", and her reasons became clear.

    Margaret Drabble | Trespassing

  • So from that came the idea of the universe turned inside out, if you like - he built this house to enclose the universe, which he called the asylum, and he really thought that was what the universe should be put into, an asylum, and that he would live outside the asylum and look after it.

    Don't Panic

  • They didn’t do this for other immigrants, but the word asylum has a strong, almost spiritual pull to it, suggesting suffering in a way that the word guest worker does not.

    Nomad

  • They didn’t do this for other immigrants, but the word asylum has a strong, almost spiritual pull to it, suggesting suffering in a way that the word guest worker does not.

    Nomad

  • They didn’t do this for other immigrants, but the word asylum has a strong, almost spiritual pull to it, suggesting suffering in a way that the word guest worker does not.

    Nomad

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Contronymic in the sense: freedom (safety) vs. incarceration.

    January 27, 2007

  • JM has a meeting with an asylum of managers

    May 26, 2010