Share this entry

bridewell Syllabification: bride·well
Pronunciation: /ˈbrīdˌwel/ /-wəl/

Definition of bridewell in English:


A prison for petty offenders such as a reform school.
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.

Words that rhyme with bridewell

Sizewell • Rockwell

Definition of bridewell in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly