A sacred place, such as a church, temple, or mosque. The holiest part of a sacred place, as the part of a Christian church around the altar. A sacred place, such as a church, in which fugitives formerly were immune to arrest. Immunity to arrest afforded by a sanctuary. A place of refuge or asylum. A reserved area in which birds and other animals, especially wild animals, are protected from hunting or molestation. See Synonyms at shelter.