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jail·​break ˈjāl-ˌbrāk How to pronounce jailbreak (audio)
: a forcible escape from jail


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jailbroke ˈjāl-ˌbrōk How to pronounce jailbreak (audio) ; jailbreaking; jailbreaks

transitive verb

: to remove built-in limitations from (an electronic device, such as a cell phone)
I'm not trying to be overly snarky here, but for … in-house app distribution, I see no need or advantage to jailbreaking an iOS device.John Welch
Last week we learned you can jailbreak every current model of Kindle.Thorin Klosowski
Apple makes it nearly impossible for the average user to download apps from anywhere else unless you jailbreak your phone.Peter Wells

Examples of jailbreak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
In recent weeks, his forces have laid siege to Haiti’s main international airport, traded gunfire with troops at government sites and sparked a mass jailbreak that freed almost 4,000 gang members. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 14 Mar. 2024 King said officials are particularly concerned about the jailbreaks, fearing the prison escapees will try to flee Haiti by boat. Caitlin Hu, CNN, 8 Mar. 2024 However, to access the memory of an app to be able to modify it, a full jailbreak is not needed, Promon said. Kate O'Flaherty, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 So this is a visual jailbreak, but not a visual prompt injection—according to my definition at least. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 2 Oct. 2023 The new jailbreak involves using additional AI systems to generate and evaluate prompts as the system tries to get a jailbreak to work by sending requests to an API. Will Knight, WIRED, 5 Dec. 2023 The one from Robust Intelligence and his team involves additional refinements that let the system generate jailbreaks with half as many tries. Will Knight, WIRED, 5 Dec. 2023 Without a jailbreak, My AI only produced harmful responses in my own tests. Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2023 He’s also used jailbreaks with requests for text that imitates Ernest Hemingway. Rachel Metz, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2023
The developers are trying to tamp down users’ ability to jailbreak their systems and put those systems to nefarious work, such as that highlighted by Shah, Pour and their colleagues. Chris Stokel-Walker, Scientific American, 6 Dec. 2023 After installation, the malware would remotely jailbreak the device using a publicly available jailbreak to escalate its system access. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 21 Apr. 2021 Any tuners out there want to jailbreak a Tremor ECU? Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 2 Feb. 2023 A week later, Musk once again turned to a Twitter poll to ask his followers whether to jailbreak the hordes of accounts suspended for posting far-right content, Qanon conspiracy theories, and lies about the 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic. Noah Shachtman, Rolling Stone, 1 Dec. 2022 Capitalism breeds a future where people have to jailbreak their car for features that are already built into it. Andy Meek, BGR, 15 July 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jailbreak.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1910, in the meaning defined above


2007, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jailbreak was in 1910

Dictionary Entries Near jailbreak

Cite this Entry

“Jailbreak.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jailbreak. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


jail·​break -ˌbrāk How to pronounce jailbreak (audio)
: an escape from jail by use of force

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