noun \ˈpri-zən\

: a building where people are kept as punishment for a crime or while they are waiting to go to court

: a place or situation from which you cannot escape

Full Definition of PRISON

:  a state of confinement or captivity
:  a place of confinement especially for lawbreakers; specifically :  an institution (as one under state jurisdiction) for confinement of persons convicted of serious crimes — compare jail

Examples of PRISON

  1. The state plans to build two more prisons.
  2. He was in prison at the time.
  3. If caught, they're all going to prison.
  4. She was sent to prison for robbery.
  5. He was released from prison.
  6. He's scheduled to get out of prison next month.
  7. Her marriage became a prison to her.

Origin of PRISON

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin prehension-, prehensio act of seizing, from prehendere to seize — more at get
First Known Use: 12th century

Rhymes with PRISON



Definition of PRISON

transitive verb

First Known Use of PRISON

14th century

Rhymes with PRISON


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Institution for the confinement of people convicted of crimes. Prisons are administered by state, provincial, or national governments and house inmates for relatively long terms. They thus differ from jails, which usually are under local jurisidiction and house inmates serving short sentences. Until the late 18th century, prisons were used mainly for the confinement of debtors who could not meet their obligations, of accused persons waiting to be tried, and of convicts who were waiting for their sentences of death or banishment to be put into effect. Later, imprisonment itself came to be accepted as a means of punishing convicted criminals. In early U.S. prisons, prisoners were kept in isolation; in the 19th century, they were permitted to work together, but only in silence. At the end of the 19th century, prison reformers successfully advocated segregation of criminals by type of crime, age, and sex; rewards for good behaviour; indeterminate sentencing; vocational training; and parole. In the late 20th century, prison populations in many countries began to explode as arrests for violent offenses and for possession of small amounts of illegal drugs increased.


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