jail

noun
\ ˈjāl How to pronounce jail (audio) \

Definition of jail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a place of confinement for persons held in lawful custody specifically : such a place under the jurisdiction of a local government (such as a county) for the confinement of persons awaiting trial or those convicted of minor crimes — compare prison
2 : confinement in a jail sentenced to jail

jail

verb
jailed; jailing; jails

Definition of jail (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to confine in or as if in a jail

Synonyms & Antonyms for jail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of jail in a Sentence

Noun He was locked up in the county jail. He was arrested and sent to jail. He went to jail for his crimes. He just got out of jail a few weeks ago. He was kept in jail overnight. Verb threatened to jail the punks if they so much as jaywalked See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Criticism of trial-prep subpoenas grew louder after word spread about the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of a young mother who spent three weeks in jail for not responding to a subpoena that summoned her to prosecutors’ offices for preparation. Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune, 14 May 2022 Three years later, his rhymes have helped land him in jail. Helena Andrews-dyer, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 Luciano is currently in jail in Iron County after pleading guilty last fall to felony kidnapping. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2022 One was arrested by the Hong Kong authorities and sentenced to three years and seven months in jail. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 13 May 2022 Misdemeanor simple battery in Louisiana carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. CBS News, 12 May 2022 That charge carries up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine. New York Times, 12 May 2022 Violating the ban is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Erin Glynn, The Enquirer, 11 May 2022 Rembert was born in Georgia, worked in cotton fields as a child, spent time in jail — including for civil-rights protests against Jim Crow segregation laws — served on a chain gang and survived a lynching attempt. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 11 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The law, passed earlier this month, empowers Russian authorities to jail anyone for spreading alleged false information about the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 25 Mar. 2022 According to Axios, prosecutors are seeking to jail Navalny for 13 years. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 22 Mar. 2022 More than a dozen times, Guatemala’s attorney general and other members of the country’s political and business elite have attempted to revoke Aifán’s judicial immunity, which would allow the government to jail her. Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2022 Michael Gableman backed off his effort to jail two mayors Friday as part of his review of the 2020 election for Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Jan. 2022 Rather than taking someone to jail on a trespass charge, that person can instead go to the receiving center to understand his or her behavior before being punished by the law, Brooksby said. The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Mar. 2022 The plot was allegedly orchestrated by Charles Custodio, 36, who investigators said sought revenge for the broker’s role in sending Custodio to jail in a previous case. Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2022 Assembly Republicans sought Friday to jail the chairwoman of the state Elections Commission, Racine’s mayor and other officials as part of their months-long review of the 2020 presidential election. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 18 Feb. 2022 The Supreme Court ruled in 1890 that a California sheriff couldn’t jail a deputy U.S. marshal who shot a man on a train while trying to protect a judge. NBC News, 5 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of jail

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1604, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jail

Noun

Middle English jaiole, from Anglo-French gaiole, jaiole, from Late Latin caveola, diminutive of Latin cavea cage — more at cage

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Time Traveler for jail

Time Traveler

The first known use of jail was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near jail

jai alai

jail

jailbait

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Statistics for jail

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Jail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jail. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for jail

jail

noun
\ ˈjāl How to pronounce jail (audio) \

Kids Definition of jail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: prison

jail

verb
jailed; jailing

Kids Definition of jail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shut up in or as if in a prison

jail

noun
\ ˈjāl How to pronounce jail (audio) \

Legal Definition of jail

: a place of confinement for persons held in lawful custody specifically : such a place under the jurisdiction of a local government (as a county) for the confinement of persons awaiting trial or those convicted of minor crimes — compare house of correction, house of detention, lockup, penitentiary, prison

Other Words from jail

jail transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on jail

Nglish: Translation of jail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jail for Arabic Speakers

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