Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “sanction”


noun     /ˈsæŋkʃən/
PUNISHMENT [C] a punishment for not obeying a rule or a law: economic/trade sanctions against a countryPunishing and punishmentsPunishing by causing painHitting and beating
APPROVAL [U] official approval or permissionAllowing and permitting
(Definition of sanction noun from the Cambridge Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

More Learner's Dictionary definitions for “sanction”

Definitions of “sanction” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


showing a wish to help or bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More