nounAncient Greek History
1A place to which access is restricted, especially a sacred space or enclosure; a sanctuary.
2Specifically. An enclosure or building attached to a temple of Asclepius, in which supplicants wishing to be cured slept.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in The Gentleman's Magazine. From Hellenistic Greek ἄβατον sacred enclosure, use as noun of neuter singular of ancient Greek ἄβατος not to be trodden from ἀ- + βατός accessible, adjective corresponding to βαίνειν to walk, go.