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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for jail

Synonyms: Noun

bastille, big house [slang], bridewell, brig, calaboose, can, clink [slang], cooler, coop, guardroom, hock, hold, hoosegow, jailhouse, joint [slang], jug, lockup, nick [British slang], pen, penitentiary, pokey [slang], prison, quod [British slang], slam, slammer, stir [slang], stockade, tolbooth [Scottish]

Synonyms: Verb

commit, confine, immure, imprison, incarcerate, intern, jug, lock (up)

Antonyms: Verb

discharge, free, liberate, release

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, the jail said. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Armed man who sparked panic at Missouri Walmart is charged," 10 Aug. 2019 The public safety budget includes police, fire, emergency management, municipal courts, the marshal's office and the jail contract with Dallas County. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Dallas city budget proposes a small tax hike for more public safety investment," 9 Aug. 2019 The jail population has shrunk by half since Sheriff Dart came in. The Economist, "America’s most interesting sheriff," 8 Aug. 2019 Jamar Antonio Golfin, 30, was jailed Saturday on a felony charge of making terroristic threats or acts, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing Cobb County jail records. Fox News, "Worker threatened to ‘blow up’ Atlanta Braves’ stadium, ‘shoot everyone there,’ arrest warrant says," 8 Aug. 2019 Each count carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Central Minnesota school superintendent facing DWI charges," 8 Aug. 2019 The second assault case Dominguez pleaded guilty to involved an unrelated attack on a county jail inmate on Oct. 22, 2018. Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Guilty pleas in knife attack on Greyhound bus, county jail assault," 8 Aug. 2019 Bartnovsky remains in the Johnson County Jail, and is being held on a $62,200 bond, according to jail records. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Franklin man had nude photos and videos of underage family member, prosecutors say," 8 Aug. 2019 Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign has been thrown in Twitter jail. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "McConnell's campaign suspended from Twitter for posting critic's profanity-laced video," 7 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Al-Hathloul’s Iranian sister-in-activism is Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human-rights lawyer jailed for defending those who protest the rules imposing headscarves on women. Bobby Ghosh, Twin Cities, "Bobby Ghosh: The most important thing Saudi Arabia and Iran could do for women," 8 Aug. 2019 Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss star as mob wives in late-'70s New York who take matters into their own hands after their husbands are jailed. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Kitchen': Film Review," 7 Aug. 2019 If local officials don’t adopt similar reforms, the jail population could increase by 70 percent the annual cost of operating the county jails over the next 16 years. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland.com, "Local leaders deciding fate of aging Cuyahoga County Justice Center agree they must adopt criminal justice reforms," 7 Aug. 2019 Lewis was arrested several days later and remains jailed on $5 million bond. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Murder suspect stood over wounded man and shot him 2 to 3 more times in the head, records state," 5 Aug. 2019 The media monitors records of police calls and listens in to scanner traffic; The News also reviews bookings into the county jails to see if there are major crimes of public interest that should be reported. Cary Aspinwall, Dallas News, "Police responded to his 911 call for help. He died. What happened to Tony Timpa?," 2 Aug. 2019 He was taken to a hospital for an evaluation and was later jailed on two counts of first-degree assault for pointing the gun at deputies, the agency said. oregonlive.com, "Man arrested after pointing gun at deputies, Clark County sheriff’s officials say," 1 Aug. 2019 In 2016, Jakarta's Chinese Christian governor (a Joko ally) Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, was accused of insulting the Quran and jailed on blasphemy charges. Anna Coren, CNN, "President Joko Widodo says Islam in Indonesia is 'tolerant' as rights groups warn of rising fundamentalism," 27 July 2019 As interest has increased in Jared, journalists have dug into his family history, reminding the public about when his father, Charles Kusher, was jailed for tax evasion and witness tampering, among other crimes. The Editors, Town & Country, "8 Things You Should Know About the Kushner Family," 25 July 2019

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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near jail

Jahvist

Jahwe

jai alai

jail

jailbait

jailbird

jailbreak

Statistics for jail

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jail

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

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More Definitions for jail

jail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of jail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a place where people are kept when they have been arrested and are being punished for a crime

jail

verb

English Language Learners Definition of jail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put (a person) in 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on jail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jail

Spanish Central: Translation of jail

Nglish: Translation of jail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jail for Arabic Speakers

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