1. Authoritative permission or approval that makes a course of action valid. See Synonyms at permission.
2. Support or encouragement, as from public opinion or established custom.
3. A consideration, influence, or principle that dictates an ethical choice.
4.1. A law or decree.
2. The penalty for noncompliance specified in a law or decree.
5. A penalty, specified or in the form of moral pressure, that acts to ensure compliance or conformity.
6. A coercive measure adopted usually by several nations acting together against a nation violating international law.
tr.v. sanc·tioned, sanc·tion·ing, sanc·tions
1. To give official authorization or approval to: “The president, we are told, has sanctioned greed at the cost of compassion” (David Rankin).
2. To encourage or tolerate by indicating approval. See Synonyms at approve.
3. To penalize, especially for violating a moral principle or international law.
The Russians and Chinese won't go along with economic sanctions.