con·​fine·​ment | \ kən-ˈfīn-mənt How to pronounce confinement (audio) \

Definition of confinement

: an act of confining : the state of being confined solitary confinement especially : lying-in

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Examples of confinement in a Sentence

The dog was kept in confinement until it was determined to be healthy. He remained with his wife during her confinement.
Recent Examples on the Web But Brian Sullivan, president of the Nassau County Correction Officers Benevolent Association, told Fox News on Thursday lawmakers and advocacy groups have created an unrealistic image of solitary confinement in New York State. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, "New York Gov. Cuomo signs law restricting solitary confinement, prompting criticism from union officials," 2 Apr. 2021 Each count carries a maximum fine of $100,000 and 25 years in prison, or both, and each has a mandatory minimum sentence of three years of initial confinement. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Court judge linked to 'Drag Queen Story Hour' charged with child pornography possession," 18 Mar. 2021 The union argued that restrictiing the use of solitary confinement would lead to increases in violent attacks against correctional officers. Taylor Romine, CNN, "New York is poised to limit solitary confinement in prisons and jails to 15 consecutive days," 18 Mar. 2021 The use of solitary confinement has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. NBC News, "Prisoner in solitary since Whitey Bulger's murder speaks out: 'I'm an innocent man'," 14 Mar. 2021 But those laws appear to be on the verge of crumbling in this movie, a portrait of mass confinement that is also an allegory of the old clashing with the new. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Night of the Kings,’ a movie about the power of storytelling, also has a good story to tell," 26 Feb. 2021 The defendants who remain behind bars, according to their lawyers and local media reports, are largely kept in solitary confinement. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "Hong Kong on Trial," 22 Mar. 2021 That's the maximum number of consecutive days an incarcerated person in New York could be held in solitary confinement under a new bill that just passed the state Senate. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "5 things to know for March 19: Covid-19, China, spa shootings, Cuomo, abortion," 19 Mar. 2021 Richards has spent time in jail and prison, including 30 days in solitary confinement at Rikers Island jail in the 1980s. Cassidy Mcdonald, CBS News, "New York City is moving to end solitary confinement after a 27-year old died in jail. Her sister says the changes aren't enough.," 12 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confinement.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of confinement

1592, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for confinement

borrowed from Middle French, from confiner "to confine entry 2" + -ment -ment

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Time Traveler for confinement

Time Traveler

The first known use of confinement was in 1592

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Statistics for confinement

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confinement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for confinement



English Language Learners Definition of confinement

: the act of confining someone or something : the state of being confined
old-fashioned : the time when a woman is giving birth to a baby


con·​fine·​ment | \ kən-ˈfīn-mənt How to pronounce confinement (audio) \

Medical Definition of confinement

: an act of confining : the state of being confined especially : lying-in



Legal Definition of confinement

1 : the act of confining
2 : the state of being confined

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