noun pris·on \ ˈpri-zᵊn \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of prison

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

Examples of prison in a Sentence

  1. The state plans to build two more prisons.

  2. He was in prison at the time.

  3. If caught, they're all going to prison.

  4. She was sent to prison for robbery.

  5. He was released from prison.

  6. He's scheduled to get out of prison next month.

  7. Her marriage became a prison to her.

Recent Examples of prison from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of prison

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

prison Synonyms

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], jail, quod [British slang], slam, slammer, stir [slang], stockade, tolbooth [Scottish]
Related Words
bull pen, cage, cell, hole, tank; block, ward; glasshouse [British], guardhouse, hulk (s); concentration camp, gulag, labor camp, prison camp, stalag, work camp; dungeon, keep, oubliette; reformatory, reform school, training school
Near Antonyms




Definition of prison

transitive verb

First Known Use of prison

14th century

PRISON Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of prison for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids


noun pris·on \ ˈpri-zᵊn \

Definition of prison for Students

: a place where criminals are locked up

Law Dictionary


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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of or relating to dancing

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