Definition of sentence in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsen(t)əns/


1A set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.
Example sentences
  • Start sentences with subjects and verbs, and let other words branch off to the right.
  • A slight lift in the voice at the end of a sentence changes statement to question.
  • The key word in the last sentence is in quotation marks because, as Tolstoy made clear in War and Peace, there are as many truths about a given battle, after it, as there were participants in it.
1.1 Logic A series of signs or symbols expressing a proposition in an artificial or logical language.
Example sentences
  • Logical inferences are then defined as relations between propositions or sentences, abstracting from the mental attitudes that go along with them.
  • A second effect of Goodman's discussion was to undermine the orthodox assumption that confirmation is an exclusively logical relation between sentences.
  • Since it does not succeed in expressing a proposition, the liar sentence is neither true nor false and the paradox is avoided.
2The punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court, or fixed by law for a particular offense: her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud slander of an official carried an eight-year prison sentence
More example sentences
  • He had also received separate suspended jail sentences for fraud offences.
  • Once the prison sentence imposed by the court has been served, one cannot say that the sentencing court had it in mind that the offender should be detained unless it was shown that he was no longer a danger.
  • Some US states, such as Hawaii, have far more lenient laws than Texas in such cases and would allow treatment rather than a prison sentence or death penalty.
judgment, ruling, decision, verdict, punishment
prison term, prison sentence;
informal time, stretch, stint


[with object]
Declare the punishment decided for (an offender): ten army officers were sentenced to death
More example sentences
  • Second, the judge must have already decided to sentence the offender to a prison term of less than two years duration.
  • The learned judge had just decided he hadn't used the right phrases when sentencing the last defendant.
  • Having been found guilty, all three were each sentenced yesterday to one year imprisonment.
pass judgment on, punish, convict;
condemn, doom


under sentence of

Having been condemned to: he was under sentence of death
More example sentences
  • When the Ruling Council investigated the matter and discovered what was happening they sentenced the scientists to prison under sentence of death.
  • An Ethiopian woman remained under sentence of death.
  • The likely effect for someone under sentence of death is that he would go through periods of agony alternating with periods of hope.


Middle English (in the senses 'way of thinking, opinion', 'court's declaration of punishment', and 'gist (of a piece of writing)'): via Old French from Latin sententia 'opinion', from sentire 'feel, be of the opinion'.

Words that rhyme with sentence


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sen·tence

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.