Definition of bridewell in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbrʌɪdw(ə)l/


A prison or reform school for petty offenders.
Example sentences
  • They were hauled off to the barracks, spent the night in the bridewell, and the next day were convicted.
  • In the 17th century, bridewells and reformatory institutions started to appear.
  • With the advent of bridewells, convicts begin to inhabit separate punitive institutions for the first time.


Mid 16th century: named after St Bride's Well in the City of London, near which such a building stood.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bride|well

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.