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From Latin asylum, from Ancient Greek ἄσυλον (ásulon).


  • IPA(key): /əˈsaɪləm/
  • (file)


asylum (plural asylums or asyla)

  1. A place of safety or refuge.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXVIII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 295:
      All the busy concerns of daily existence were utterly abhorrent to me. I loathed the sound of others' voices—I hated to be mixed up with their petty routine of ordinary cares; here was an asylum offered to me—here I might lay down all the offices of humanity, and dwell beside that grave whose rest was now my only desire.
  2. The protection, physical and legal, afforded by such a place (as, for example, for political refugees).
  3. (dated) A place of protection or restraint for one or more classes of the disadvantaged, especially the mentally ill.
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter V, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      Of all the queer collections of humans outside of a crazy asylum, it seemed to me this sanitarium was the cup winner. [] When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose.


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From Ancient Greek ἄσυλον (ásulon).



asȳlum n (genitive asȳlī); second declension

  1. asylum (place of refuge), sanctuary
    Synonyms: perfugium, latebra, receptāculum, tēctum, refugium, dēverticulum


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative asȳlum asȳla
Genitive asȳlī asȳlōrum
Dative asȳlō asȳlīs
Accusative asȳlum asȳla
Ablative asȳlō asȳlīs
Vocative asȳlum asȳla


  • Catalan: asil
  • English: asylum
  • French: asile
  • Galician: asilo
  • German: Asyl
  • Italian: asilo
  • Occitan: asil
  • Portuguese: asilo
  • Romanian: azil
  • Spanish: asilo


  • asylum”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • asylum”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • asylum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • asylum”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • asylum”, in Samuel Ball Platner (1929), Thomas Ashby, editor, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London: Oxford University Press
  • asylum”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin