- A place for the confinement of people accused or convicted of a crime: he spent 15 years in jail [as modifier]: a jail sentenceMore example sentences
prison, penal institution, place of detention, lock-up, place of confinement, guardhouse, correctional facility, detention centre; young offender institution, youth custody centre; North American penitentiary, jailhouse, boot camp, stockade, house of correctionBritish • informal the nickNorth American • informal the can, the pen, the cooler, the joint, the pokey, the slam, the skookum house, the calaboose, the hoosegow• historical pound, roundhouseScottish • historical tollboothFrench, • historical bastilleNorth American • historical reformatory
- Last year the number of inmates in the nation's prisons and jails reached nearly 1,932,000, a record number.
- David Brown says the Royal Commission helped end the violence against prisoners which existed in some jails.
- In February the United States reached a benchmark of 2 million individuals in its prisons and jails.
verb[with object] Back to top
- Put (someone) in jail: the driver was jailed for two yearsMore example sentences
imprison, put in prison, send to prison, incarcerate, lock up, take into custody, put under lock and key, put away, intern, confine, detain, hold prisoner, hold captive, hold, put into detention, constrain, immure, put in chains, put in irons, clap in irons; British detain at Her Majesty's pleasure• informal send down, put behind bars, put insideBritish • informal bang up
- But they decided that, well for a start she's not likely to do it again, and that no useful purpose would be spent by jailing her.
- As well as jailing him for three years, she also ordered he forfeit £165 he had with him when he was arrested, and that the heroin be destroyed.
- As well as jailing him for eight weeks magistrates imposed another driving ban, which runs out at the same time as his current disqualification.
Middle English: based on Latin cavea (see cage). The word came into English in two forms, jaiole from Old French and gayole from Anglo-Norman French gaole (surviving in the spelling gaol), originally pronounced with a hard g, as in goat.