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

In 2016, President Obama cited Mr. Browder’s case while arguing to reduce the use of solitary confinement. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "NYC to Pay $3.3 Million to Family of Teen Who Languished at Rikers Island," 24 Jan. 2019 She had just been released from the for-profit Eloy Detention Center after 43 days of confinement. Danielle Campoamor, Teen Vogue, "ICE Detained This Outspoken Activist. Here's What She Had to Say the Day Before a Judge Ordered Her Deportation," 12 Dec. 2018 In 2001, with still a century of his 105-year sentence to serve, Dean says, he was sent to solitary confinement in an Atlanta prison. Michael Gordon, charlotteobserver, "He agreed to write a killer’s story. Then a wild plot twist changed everything.," 12 Jan. 2018 The Associated Press reported Thursday that immigrants as young as 14 at the center said they were beaten, locked away in solitary confinement for long periods of time and left alone naked in cold cells. CBS News, "Some young immigrants at detention center cope through poetry," 22 June 2018 He was held in solitary confinement for 11 of those years. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Will the Supreme Court Scrutinize Solitary Confinement? One Justice Offers a Map," 14 May 2018 And in September, TDCJ eliminated the use of solitary confinement for punitive purposes, a change that impacted roughly 75 inmates still being isolated for rule-breaking. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Black prisoners in Texas more likely to be in solitary, even as use of isolation decreases," 21 Apr. 2018 Punishments can include forfeiture of pay, extra duty, reduction in grade, confinement in military jail, bread and water or decreased food rations. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "10 Significant Moments You Missed From 'This Is Us' Last Night," 17 Oct. 2018 See the inmates with the lengthiest confinements in the Montgomery County jail, and details on their alleged offenses, in the photos above. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Inmates who have been in Montgomery County Jail the longest," 16 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for confinement

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for confinement

The first known use of confinement was in 1592

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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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