sanction n1 : a punitive or coercive measure or action that results from failure to comply with a law, rule, or order [a for contempt]
2 : explicit or official approval
3 : an economic or military coercive measure adopted usually by several nations in concert for forcing a nation violating international law to desist or yield to adjudication
vt 1 : to give official approval or consent to
2 : to impose a sanction on [ed the lawyer for professional misconduct]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.