- authoritative permission or approval, as for an action.
- something that serves to support an action, condition, etc.
- something that gives binding force, as to an oath, rule of conduct, etc.
- a provision of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience.
- the penalty or reward.
- International Law. action by one or more states toward another state calculated to force it to comply with legal obligations.
verb (used with object)
- to authorize, approve, or allow: an expression now sanctioned by educated usage.
- to ratify or confirm: to sanction a law.
- to impose a sanction on; penalize, especially by way of discipline.
- final permission; authorization
- aid or encouragement
- something, such as an ethical principle, that imparts binding force to a rule, oath, etc
- the penalty laid down in a law for contravention of its provisions
- (often plural) a coercive measure, esp one taken by one or more states against another guilty of violating international law
- to give authority to; permit
- to make authorized; confirm
n.early 15c., “confirmation or enactment of a law,” from Latin sanctionem (nominative sanctio) “act of decreeing or ordaining,” also “decree, ordinance,” noun of action from past participle stem of sancire “to decree, confirm, ratify, make sacred” (see saint (n.)). Originally especially of ecclesiastical decrees. v.1778, “confirm by sanction, make valid or binding;” 1797 as “to permit authoritatively;” from sanction (n.). Seemingly contradictory meaning “impose a penalty on” is from 1956 but is rooted in an old legalistic sense of the noun. Related: Sanctioned; sanctioning.