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

Earlier in the day, Massachusetts’ highest court denied an emergency motion filed by her lawyers to keep her out of jail. Alanna Durkin Richer, The Seattle Times, "Woman begins jail sentence for texting suicide conviction," 11 Feb. 2019 Me, along with two other women—those other women are in jail today. Glamour, "Glamour Woman of the Year Manal al-Sharif: 'Democracy Is Not a Privilege'," 12 Nov. 2018 Jean-Claude Mas, the original founder of the French company, was sentenced to four years in jail. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Over 5,000 British Women Are Being Accused of Lying About Getting Defunct Breast Implants," 1 Oct. 2018 In her big screen debut—an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel—the 26-year-old Cincinnati native plays Tish, a woman trying to get her husband out of jail before the birth of their child. The Editors, Town & Country, "Meet KiKi Layne, the Actress Who's About to Be Everywhere," 1 Aug. 2018 The ultimate get out of jail free card - terrorising defences with his impish skill, roadrunner legs and lethal R9-esque finishing. SI.com, "Why Didier Deschamps Is Still a Problem Regardless of Leading France to the World Cup Final," 12 July 2018 The bullet has not been removed and at Tuesday’s hearing, Griffin’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kristen Nevdal, asked Judge Jeffrey MacKay to temporarily let Griffin out of jail in order to visit his family doctor for an examination. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, "Man pleads not guilty to shopping mall shooting that authorities say was sparked by spilled bottle of urine," 11 July 2018 Matlak bailed out of jail and voluntarily checked himself in to a lockdown mental health facility, defense attorney Brian Watkins said. City News Service, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Torrey Pines High grad pleads guilty to making school threats," 10 July 2018 Both women were given a $1,000 bond and are now out of jail, the station reported. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "Mom gave boy weed if he was good and took it away when he was bad, Indiana cops say," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He was recaptured after about nine hours and was jailed in Bell County on a more than $1.75 million bond. Jake Bleiberg, The Seattle Times, "Prison transport firm closing after escape, cites insurance," 11 Feb. 2019 Maduro also this year freed a former Utah missionary jailed for more than two years on weapons charges in a bid to improve relations with the White House. Fox News, "Venezuela's Maduro says he is 'ready' to meet Trump in surprise UN speech," 27 Sep. 2018 The phrase refers to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, for which some — including Trump — say Clinton should be jailed. Sarah Mearhoff, Teen Vogue, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions Joined a "Lock Her Up!" Chant at a Conservative Teen Conference," 24 July 2018 Though he wasn't jailed there during his stint in prison, Hiram made some mysterious visits to the Shankshaw, and received mail from the warden. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Comprehensive List of All of Hiram Lodge's Schemes on "Riverdale"," 13 Dec. 2018 So is there a possibility you could be jailed indefinitely? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Memo from a ‘Facebook nation’ to Mark Zuckerberg: You moved fast and broke our country.," 26 Nov. 2018 After she was jailed for defying courts and refusing to do her job, some evangelicals, including Republican Mike Huckabee, rallied behind her. German Lopez, Vox, "Davis gained national notoriety for refusing to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples.," 7 Nov. 2018 He was jailed during that time in Monroe, Louisiana, in relation to the stabbing death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, an international student from Taiwan. Fox News, "Jurors see interview videos of man accused in burning death," 28 Sep. 2018 Immigration officers are handcuffing and jailing unaccompanied immigrant detainees on their 18th birthdays, according to a new report by The Miami New Times. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "ICE Is Detaining Teens on Their 18th Birthdays," 24 Aug. 2018

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

12 Mar 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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