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

Keep scrolling for more

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 the early 2010s, Yandell was a leader in a statewide prison hunger strike — and the plaintiff in federal lawsuits — aimed at combating California’s policy of keeping some prisoners in solitary confinement indefinitely. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Feds announce massive California bust of notorious Aryan Brotherhood prison gang," 6 June 2019 Solitary confinement cells were tiny, a meter wide and two meters long with a latrine hole at one end. Bassem Mroue, Fox News, "Clues but no answers in one of Syria war's biggest mysteries," 13 Aug. 2018 In 2017, to mark the 75th year of the executive order, grants were made available to preserve and interpret World War II Japanese-American confinement sites. Katherine Yamada,, "Verdugo Views: Relocation camps changed the lives of many Japanese Americans during World War II," 31 May 2018 Three new installations have arrived this month to occupy Eastern State Penitentiary’s achingly depressing and dilapidated solitary confinement cells, joining 10 others already there. Edith Newhall,, "New art to see in Philly this month: at Eastern State Pen, the Art Museum … and on napkins," 9 May 2018 Set in a solitary confinement cell, the scene has Sawyer verbally assaulting her stalker, digging into his insecurities and obsessions. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / Women's Issues Steven Soderbergh's Unsane is a provocation disguised as genre entertainment," 28 Mar. 2018 To combat the sense of confinement, there are digital windows where real windows aren’t possible. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Tourist's Guide to Space," 12 Mar. 2019 There are lawsuits, injured youth and records of excessive use of pepper spray and solitary confinement to support that belief. Todd Richmond, The Seattle Times, "Wisconsin youth prison probe closes without charges," 12 Apr. 2019 Over the past decade, the Texas prison system has sharply curtailed its use of isolation, reducing its use of administrative segregation by roughly 4,000 prisoners, and eliminating the use of solitary confinement for punitive reasons altogether. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "After ‘slavery’ in prison, exoneree explains how to end solitary confinement on Texas death row," 26 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about confinement

Statistics for confinement

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confinement

The first known use of confinement was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on confinement

What made you want to look up confinement? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!