When someone needs a refuge from a difficult or dangerous situation, they need asylum. If a government offers to protect people who have fled war or hardship in their own country, it gives them asylum.

You may have heard asylum used to describe an institution where insane people are housed, but did you know that an asylum can also be somewhere you’d happily and willingly go? An asylum offers shelter and protection, like the awning of a building in a downpour. Or it could be a country that takes in refugees in danger of persecution — otherwise known as "political asylum."

Primary Meanings of asylum

a shelter from danger or hardship
a hospital for mentally incompetent or unbalanced people
Full Definitions of asylum

n a shelter from danger or hardship

refuge, sanctuary
harbor, harbour
a place of refuge and comfort and security
a refuge from attack
safe house
a house used as a hiding place or refuge by members of certain organizations
Type of:
a structure that provides privacy and protection from danger

n a hospital for mentally incompetent or unbalanced people

insane asylum, institution, mental home, mental hospital, mental institution, psychiatric hospital
Bedlam, booby hatch, crazy house, cuckoo's nest, funny farm, funny house, loony bin, madhouse, nut house, nuthouse, sanatorium, snake pit
pejorative terms for an insane asylum
Type of:
hospital, infirmary
a health facility where patients receive treatment

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.