Meaning of asylum

a•sy•lum

Pronunciation: (u-sī'lum), [key]
— n.
  1. (esp. formerly) an institution for the maintenance and care of the mentally ill, orphans, or other persons requiring specialized assistance.
  2. an inviolable refuge, as formerly for criminals and debtors; sanctuary: He sought asylum in the church.
    1. a refuge granted an alien by a sovereign state on its own territory.
    2. a temporary refuge granted political offenders, esp. in a foreign embassy.
  3. any secure retreat.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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