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.
Empty and baseless, sanctions are punitive threats thrown about like playing cards from the U.N. at nations that commit grave offenses, such as North Korea and Iran.
Compared to a slap on the wrist, but less effective, sanctions are nothing more than United Nations PR "showing" the world that they are hard at work keeping baddies in line.
Not quite as powerful as the wag of the finger, sanctions have absolutely no effect on the country they are imposed upon.
North Korea, and Iran have multiple sanctions against them from the U.N. for crimes committed (ex. secret underground uranium enrichment plants)
However, these countries go about their day to day plotting because sanctions are USELESS.
Show some balls, World.