prison

1 of 2

noun

pris·​on ˈpri-zᵊn How to pronounce prison (audio)
1
: a state of confinement or captivity
2
: a place of confinement especially for lawbreakers
specifically : an institution (such as one under state jurisdiction) for confinement of persons convicted of serious crimes compare jail

prison

2 of 2

verb

prisoned; prisoning; prisons

Examples of prison in a Sentence

Noun The state plans to build two more prisons. He was in prison at the time. If caught, they're all going to prison. She was sent to prison for robbery. He was released from prison. He's scheduled to get out of prison next month. Her marriage became a prison to her.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Jury selection is underway in the Santa Fe, N.M., trial of Alec Baldwin, who faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted in the accidental death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 9 July 2024 Blanchard served eight years in prison for her role in the fatal stabbing of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard, who allegedly suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy and made Blanchard seem to have various health issues. Brendan Morrow, USA TODAY, 9 July 2024 Tina Marie Alexander, 46, will serve between 6 ½ years and 10 years in prison and was ordered to pay a fine of $100,000. Kate Robins, Charlotte Observer, 9 July 2024 Gutierrez, 27, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting and sentenced in April to 18 months in prison, the maximum possible, in the shooting. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for prison 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin prehension-, prehensio act of seizing, from prehendere to seize — more at get

First Known Use

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prison was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near prison

Cite this Entry

“Prison.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prison. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

prison

noun
pris·​on
ˈpriz-ᵊn
1
: a state of confinement or captivity
2
: a place where criminals or prisoners are locked up

Legal Definition

prison

noun
pris·​on
: an institution usually under state control for confinement of persons serving sentences for serious crimes compare house of correction, house of detention, jail, lockup, penitentiary

More from Merriam-Webster on prison

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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