late 14c., seintefie "to consecrate," from Old French saintefier "sanctify" (12c., Modern French sanctifier), from Late Latin sanctificare "to make holy," from sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)) + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Form altered in English c. 1400 to conform with Latin. Meaning "to render holy or legitimate by religious sanction" is from c. 1400; transferred sense of "to render worthy of respect" is from c. 1600. Related: Sanctified; sanctifying.
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