Definitions

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

  • n. Ecclesiastical The sanctuary or sacristy of a church.
  • n. Ecclesiastical Piscina.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A place where sacred objects were kept, either in a temple (the adytum) or in a house (holding the penates)
  • n. The area surrounding the altar of a Christian church; the sanctuary or piscina. Sometimes specifically a drain directly to the earth, perhaps including reference to a basin, for washing vessels from consecration.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sort of family chapel in the houses of the Romans, devoted to a special divinity.
  • n. The adytum of a temple.
  • n. In a Christian church, the sanctuary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman antiquity: Any sacred or consecrated retired place; any place where sacred objects were deposited, as that connected with the Capitoline temple where were kept the processional chariots; sometimes, a locality where a statue of an emperor was placed.
  • n. A sort of family chapel in private houses, in which the images of the Penates were kept.
  • n. That part of a church where the altar is situated; the sanctuary; the chancel.
  • n. In ornithology, the complex sacrum of any bird, consisting of dorsolumbar or lumbosacral and of urosacral vertebræ, as well as of sacrals proper.

Etymologies

Medieval Latin sacrārium, from Latin, shrine, from sacer, sacr-, sacred; see sacred.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sacrārium. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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