prison

noun
pris·on | \ ˈpri-zᵊn \

Definition of prison 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

verb
prisoned; prisoning; prisons

Definition of prison (Entry 2 of 2)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Indigenous Australians make up only 3 percent of the national population, but 25 percent of Australia’s prison population. Rod Mcguirk, USA TODAY, "Australian police chief apologizes to indigenous people," 12 July 2018 Over our second bottle of wine, Anastasi told me that in 1971, the Italian government attempted to turn Filicudi into a kind of prison without walls, sending 15 notorious mafia leaders to live there as free men in exile. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 And in Louisiana, Demario Davis and Benjamin Watson wrote a letter endorsing legislation to restore voting rights to those with past felony convictions who have been out of prison for five years. Jenny Vrentas, SI.com, "For Many NFL Players, Summer Doesn't Bring Much of a Break," 9 July 2018 But in the late 1990s, that wasn't always the case — and Lorenzo's plea deal to keep her out of prison was a no-brainer. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Feds decided to deport her — two decades after her Miami marijuana arrest," 5 July 2018 That’s because half the state’s prison population is incarcerated for a non-violent offense, at a cost of more than $350 million. kansascity, "Jean Paul Bradshaw," 30 June 2018 But in recent years, the prison population has plunged to record lows. Maria Cramer, BostonGlobe.com, "Parole board still slow to release inmates 8 years after ex-convict killed officer, critics say," 26 June 2018 Just as Philadelphia and District Attorney Larry Krasner work to reduce prison populations, mass incarceration is moving to the suburbs. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Pa. death penalty report released, Philly archdiocese settles sex abuse claim | Morning Newsletter," 26 June 2018 The felony count carries between one and six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. NBC News, "Former NBA star Charles Oakley accused of gambling fraud at Las Vegas casino," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prison.' 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 prison

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prison

Noun

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

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Statistics for prison

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prison

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

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More Definitions for prison

prison

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prison

: a building where people are kept as punishment for a crime or while they are waiting to go to court

: a place or situation from which you cannot escape

prison

noun
pris·on | \ ˈpri-zᵊn \

Kids Definition of prison

: a place where criminals are locked up

prison

noun
pris·on

Legal Definition of prison 

: 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

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Comments on prison

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to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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