1

penitentiary

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noun pen·i·ten·tia·ry \ˌpe-nə-ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)rē\

Definition of penitentiary

plural

penitentiaries

  1. 1a :  an officer in some Roman Catholic dioceses vested with power from the bishop to deal with cases of a nature normally handled only by the bishopb capitalized :  a cardinal presiding over a tribunal of the Roman curia (see curia 3) concerned with dispensations (see dispensation 2) and indulgences

  2. 2 :  a public institution in which offenders against the law are confined for detention or punishment; specifically :  a state or federal prison in the U.S. a federal penitentiary in Virginia

Examples of penitentiary in a Sentence

  1. a sentence in the state penitentiary for robbery

Origin and Etymology of penitentiary

Middle English penitenciary, from Medieval Latin poenitentiarius, from poenitentia


First Known Use: 15th century


2

penitentiary

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adjective pen·i·ten·tia·ry \ˌpe-nə-ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)rē, sense 1 also -ˈten(t)-shē-ˌer-ē\

Definition of penitentiary

  1. 1 :  penitential

  2. 2 :  of, relating to, or incurring confinement in a penitentiary

Origin and Etymology of penitentiary

see 1penitentiary


First Known Use: 1577


PENITENTIARY Defined for Kids

penitentiary

play
noun pen·i·ten·tia·ry \ˌpe-nə-ˈten-shə-rē\

Definition of penitentiary for Students

plural

penitentiaries

  1. :  prison


Law Dictionary

penitentiary

play
noun pen·i·ten·tia·ry \ˌpe-nə-ˈten-chə-rē\

Legal Definition of penitentiary

plural

penitentiaries

  1. :  a state or federal prison for the punishment and reformation of convicted felons — compare house of correction, house of detention, jail, lockup



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