Share this entry
bridewell Syllabification: bride·well
Pronunciation: /ˈbrīdwel/

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.

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.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources