What Does Sanction Mean? – Definition & Examples

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Guess what? Today, I’m going over the details about a word that can have multiple meanings depending on the context in which it’s used: sanction. You can use it as a noun and a verb and even apply it to many different situations. So, what does sanction mean exactly? Hang tight as I break it all down for you.

What Does Sanction Mean?

What Does Sanction Mean Definition Examples

According to Merriam-Webster, “sanction” is a verb that means to give official permission or official approval for something or to impose a penalty on someone.

We also use it as a noun to describe a penalty, disciplinary sanctions, or measures to ensure compliance with a law or rule. As a noun, it also means a solidified agreement, or an oath, of sorts.

How to Pronounce Sanction

Sanction spelling and pronunciation are simply s-a-n-c-t-i-o-n and pronounced as sangk-shn.

What Does It Mean When You Get Sanctioned?

When someone is sanctioned, it means they’re being penalized for something bad they did. This could be anything from a slap on the wrist you’d get from petty shoplifting to more severe punishment, like a fine or jail time for high crimes.

If an athlete is caught using performance-enhancing drugs, they might be sanctioned with a suspension or even a ban from the sport.

What Do Sanctions Mean in the Government?

What Does Sanction Mean Definition Examples 1

Then we have the context of the government. Here, the term “sanctions” typically points to the measures a country takes against another as a form of pressure for them to change their behavior. Right now, it’s a word we’ve all heard thrown around a time or two, for sure.

It can be used regarding trade restrictions, financial penalties, and travel bans—all things we experienced during the pandemic.

Sanctions are also used to avoid military conflict but can have accidental consequences like putting innocent people in danger. That’s where things get a little dark.

Synonyms for Sanction

Looking for a few other ways to say “sanction”? Here are a few ideas.

  • Approve
  • Authorize
  • Endorse
  • Penalize
  • Punish
  • Prohibit
  • Restrict
  • Censure

Sanction Examples in Sentences

I like to give the context of sentence examples, especially for words that have multiple meanings and uses.

  • I can’t believe our school principal sanctioned the student for cheating on the test.
  • Surprisingly, the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on North Korea.
  • Yes, our coach was sanctioned for verbally abusing the players on our team.
  • Our project received the city council’s sanction, so that we can start anytime!
  • Can you make sure those records of sanction come before Friday?
  • Can you read this over for me? The new contract includes a legal sanction for late payments.
  • It’s a scary time; the US government is considering international sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
  • The company was sanctioned for violating environmental regulations.

Swedish hockey star Nicklas Backstrom has dropped his appeal against the IOC ruling that he committed a doping violation at the Sochi Olympics. In return, he has accepted the minimum sanction of a reprimand. [Canada]

Final Words

Just remember, if you’re ever unsure about the word’s meaning in any given context, don’t be afraid to look it up on Grammarist! In the meantime, stay out of trouble, so you don’t have to worry about getting sanctioned. Until next time!

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