• WordNet 3.6
    • n asylum a hospital for mentally incompetent or unbalanced person
    • n asylum a shelter from danger or hardship
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: There was a ratio of 35 women to one man in England mental asylums in 1971. However in England prisons, this ratio was the opposite.
    • Asylum A sanctuary or place of refuge and protection, where criminals and debtors found shelter, and from which they could not be forcibly taken without sacrilege. "So sacred was the church to some, that it had the right of an asylum or sanctuary."
    • Asylum An institution for the protection or relief of some class of destitute, unfortunate, or afflicted persons; as, an asylum for the aged, for the blind, or for the insane; a lunatic asylum; an orphan asylum.
    • Asylum Any place of retreat and security. "Earth has no other asylum for them than its own cold bosom."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n asylum A sanctuary or place of refuge where criminals and debtors formerly sought shelter from justice, and from which they could not be taken without sacrilege.
    • n asylum Hence Inviolable shelter; protection from pursuit or arrest; security of the person: as, the right of asylum, that is, of furnishing such protection. Most Grecian temples had anciently this right, and the custom, following Jewish analogies, passed into the Christian church. From the fourth century the churches had widely extended rights of asylum, but modern legislation has nearly everywhere ended the custom. (See sanctuary.) In international law, the right of asylum was formerly claimed for the houses of ambassadors. The term now specifically signifies the right of one state to receive and shelter persons accused of crimes, or especially of political offenses, committed in another. See extradition.
    • n asylum Any place of retreat and security.
    • n asylum Specifically An institution for receiving, maintaining, and, so far as possible, ameliorating the condition of persons suffering from bodily defects, mental maladies, or other misfortunes: as, an asylum for the blind, for the deaf and dumb, for the insane, etc.; a magdalen asylum.
    • n asylum a phrase used by Spinoza to denote the pronouncing of any matter to be a mystery in order to evade arguments against its reality.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Asylum a-sīl′um a place of refuge for debtors and for such as were accused of some crime: an institution for the care or relief of the unfortunate, such as the blind or insane: any place of refuge or protection.
    • ***


  • Jane Fonda
    Jane Fonda
    “You spend all your life trying to do something they put people in asylums for.”
  • Søren Kierkegaard
    Søren Kierkegaard
    “Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate.”
  • Virginia Woolf
    “Those comfortably padded lunatic asylums which are known, euphemistically, as the stately homes of England.”
  • Robert Welch
    Robert Welch
    “The whole country is one vast insane asylum and they're letting the worst patients run the place.”
  • Mark Twain
    “The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people but if we tried to shut up the insane we would run out of building materials.”
  • Richard Neville
    Richard Neville
    “Rock 'n Roll is an asylum for emotional idiots.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. asylum, Gr. , fr. exempt from spoliation, inviolable; 'a priv. + right of seizure
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.—Gr. asylona, neg., sylē, right of seizure.


In literature:

I am beginning to think it is hopeless, and we might as well advise your father to have her taken to a private asylum.
"Paul Patoff" by F. Marion Crawford
The Refuge, as the asylum was called, was a vast edifice of gray stone with a sombre and cloister-like look.
"Monte-Cristo's Daughter" by Edmund Flagg
This school was for a time part of an orphan asylum.
"The Deaf" by Harry Best
Girls and boys from orphan asylums and workhouses were secured and held as practical slaves.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 11 (of 14)" by Elbert Hubbard
Maybe I'll have an orphan asylum all my own.
"Blue Bonnet in Boston" by Caroline E. Jacobs
They visit asylums and registered houses at their own will, and the element of surprise is one of their methods.
"The Man Who Lost Himself" by H. De Vere Stacpoole
He was not a case for an asylum.
"Lady Bountiful" by George A. Birmingham
This time the King was unnerved; in despair he fled for asylum to the chamber of the Assembly.
"The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" by William Milligan Sloane
My first object was to find out some fitting asylum for little Fleta.
"Japhet in Search of a Father" by Frederick Marryat
Meantime, however, the lawyer and his fellow-accomplices of the law were plotting to get the wretched woman placed in some private asylum.
"Danger! A True History of a Great City's Wiles and Temptations" by William Howe

In poetry:

Its fruits are the asylums, and
Poor-houses, and hospitals,
The gambling hell, the illfamed house,
Where satan plays the fiddle.
"Strong Drink" by Frank Barbour Coffin
'Twas good Palemon—Near a shaded pool,
A group of ancient elms umbrageous rose;
The flocking rooks, by Instinct's native rule,
This peaceful scene for their asylum chose.
"Elegy XV. In Memory of a Private Family in Worcestershire" by William Shenstone
Delicious gloom! asylum of repose!
Within your verdant shades, your tranquil bound,
A wretched fugitive, oppress'd by woes,
The balm of peace, that long had left him, found.
"Lines Written In A Hermitage" by Sir John Carr
People accord me little praise,
Yet I am not the least alarming;
I can recall, in bygone days,
A maid once said she thought me charming.
She was my friend, -- mo more I vow, --
And -- she's in an asylum now.
"Bluebeard" by Harry Graham
A shallow lake, with many waterbirds,
especially egrets: I was showing Mother around,
An extraordinary vivid dream
of Betty & Douglass, and Don—his mother's estate
was on the grounds of a lunatic asylum.
He showed me around.
"Dream Song 101: A shallow lake, with many waterbirds" by John Berryman

In news:

US imprisonment of asylum seekers.
Only a fraction of Mexicans get US asylum.
'American Horror Story: Asylum' Recap: Your Story Is Indecent .
What exactly is Adam Levine's role in the new season of American Horror Story, called American Horror Story: Asylum.
What exactly is Adam Levine 's role in the new season of American Horror Story, called American Horror Story: Asylum.
Juarez Police Officer Denied US Asylum.
An immigration judge rejected her request for asylum four years ago.
Movie company Global Asylum, which specializes in knockoffs of big-budget Hollywood films, has been thwarted in its effort to release "Age of the Hobbits" at the same time the.
An Abduction Shines Light on Ukraine Asylum Policy and on Kremlin Methods.
Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude, a stern nun running an insane asylum, in the second season of American Horror Story.
Jessica Lange , Adam Levine in American Horror Story: Asylum Promo.
"Que Sera Sera" has never sounded as creepy as in this first peek at American Horror Story: Asylum featuring new cast members Adam Levine and Chloë Sevigny, and, most important, the returning Jessica Lange as a sadistic nun.
TV Guide is reporting that O'Brien will lend his distinctive voice to Dave Endocrine, a late-night talk show host who interviews the Joker after his release from Arkham Asylum.
It has been ten years since Sangatte, the large Red Cross asylum centre near Calais, was shut to new arrivals.