sanction - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “sanction”

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sanction

noun  us   /ˈsæŋk·ʃən/

sanction noun (APPROVAL)

[U] fml approval or permission: To be just, a government must have the sanction of the governed. Note: usually describes formal or legal approval

sanction noun (PUNISHMENT)

[C usually pl] an official action taken against a government to force it to behave in a particular way or as punishment for not doing so: trade/economic sanctions

sanction

verb [T]  us   /ˈsæŋk·ʃən/

sanction verb [T] (PERMIT)

to formally permit something: The UN sanctioned intervention in the crisis.
(Definition of sanction from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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