sentence

noun
sen·​tence | \ ˈsen-tᵊn(t)s How to pronounce sentence (audio) , -tᵊnz\

Definition of sentence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 obsolete : opinion especially : a conclusion given on request or reached after deliberation
2a : judgment sense 4a specifically : one formally pronounced by a court or judge in a criminal proceeding and specifying the punishment to be inflicted upon the convict
b : the punishment so imposed serve out a sentence
3 archaic : maxim, saw
4a : a word, clause, or phrase or a group of clauses or phrases forming a syntactic unit which expresses an assertion, a question, a command, a wish, an exclamation, or the performance of an action, that in writing usually begins with a capital letter and concludes with appropriate end punctuation, and that in speaking is distinguished by characteristic patterns of stress, pitch, and pauses
b : a mathematical or logical statement (such as an equation or a proposition) in words or symbols

sentence

verb
sentenced; sentencing

Definition of sentence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to impose a sentence on
2 : to cause to suffer something sentenced these most primitive cultures to extinction— E. W. Count

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Synonyms for sentence

Synonyms: Noun

doom, finding, holding, judgment (or judgement), ruling

Synonyms: Verb

condemn, damn, doom

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Examples of sentence in a Sentence

Noun

He is serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery.

Verb

The defendant was sentenced and fined. the judge sentenced him to a fine of $50 and time served
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to recommend a commutation of Clark's sentence. Fox News, "Texas executes man in the torture, drowning of ex-roommate," 28 Sep. 2018 He's also granted 2 commutations of sentence as well. CBS News, "Trump pardons Hammond ranchers in case that inspired 2016 Oregon militia occupation," 10 July 2018 The judge suspended the execution of the sentence other than 120 days of shock time. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "'This man preys upon women': 3rd sex assault case filed against Missouri prison guard," 2 July 2018 Aubrey James Norvell spent 18 months and 24 days of a two-year sentence in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman for the shooting. Elizabeth Finny, miamiherald, "He marched for civil rights — and wrote a song about pastrami. Sherwood Ross has died at 85," 1 July 2018 When Datesman was convicted in 1983, Pennsylvania governors were still commuting dozens of life sentences. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "Sisters begged the Board of Pardons to free their brother's killer. The board said 'no'," 28 June 2018 Prosecutors had sought a 24-month prison term, which would have been an unusually long sentence. Byron Tau, WSJ, "Ex-Senate Staffer Accused of Lying to FBI Gets Jail Time," 20 Dec. 2018 Guzman’s lawyers say the lowlife cooperators are lying in an attempt to frame him and get an easier sentence in their own drug-trafficking cases. Claudia Torrens, The Seattle Times, "El Chapo trial becomes New York’s latest tourist attraction," 18 Dec. 2018 Nassar is serving an effective life sentence after pleading guilty. Jessica Taylor Price, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Olympics Committee Moves to Decertify USA Gymnastics," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

They were sentenced to five years of probation and 250 hours of community service, a spokesman for the office said. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Prosecutors Probe Hoteliers Paid by New York City to House Homeless," 18 Jan. 2019 In April 2014, Rigmaiden and federal prosecutors came to a plea agreement in his case, and he was sentenced to time served: 68 months. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Convicted tax fraudster sues CNBC for defamation, says he’s not a “hacker”," 19 Nov. 2018 Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, was sentenced to three years in prison in December. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Ex-Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen to Testify at Open House Hearing Feb. 27," 20 Feb. 2019 Hamilton was sentenced to seven years' of transportation, meaning he was sent to the colonies to serve out his punishment. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The True Story of How Queen Victoria Survived William Hamilton's Failed Assassination Attempt," 11 Feb. 2019 After two trials, Bundy was finally sentenced to death. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Ted Bundy: Looking Back at the Killing Spree That Landed Him on Death Row," 25 Jan. 2019 John was sentenced to up to six years in prison in Michigan for resisting arrest and possession of drugs. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the Events of Dirty John," 14 Jan. 2019 In April, longtime stalker Frank Andrew Hoover was sentenced to probation after reportedly sending threatening emails and following her motorcade to the airport. Sara Delgado, Glamour, "Taylor Swift Reportedly Used Facial-Recognition Tech at a Concert to Track Stalkers," 14 Dec. 2018 In April, longtime stalker Frank Andrew Hoover was sentenced to probation after reportedly sending threatening emails and following her motorcade to the airport. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Taylor Swift Reportedly Used Facial Recognition Tech at a Concert to Track Fans Who Might Be Stalkers," 13 Dec. 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sentence

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin sententia feeling, opinion, from *sentent-, *sentens, irregular present participle of sentire to feel — more at sense

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Statistics for sentence

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sentence

The first known use of sentence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sentence

sentence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sentence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of words that expresses a statement, question, command, or wish
law : the punishment given by a court of law

sentence

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sentence (Entry 2 of 2)

law : to officially state the punishment given to (someone) by a court of law

sentence

noun
sen·​tence | \ ˈsen-tᵊns How to pronounce sentence (audio) \

Kids Definition of sentence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a group of words that makes a statement, asks a question, or expresses a command, wish, or exclamation
2 : punishment set by a court He served a sentence for robbery.
3 : a mathematical statement (as an equation) in words or symbols

sentence

verb
sentenced; sentencing

Kids Definition of sentence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to set the punishment of The judge sentenced the prisoner.

sentence

noun
sen·​tence | \ ˈsent-ᵊns, -ᵊnz How to pronounce sentence (audio) \

Legal Definition of sentence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a judgment formally pronouncing the punishment to be inflicted on one convicted of a crime
2 : the punishment that one convicted of a crime is ordered to receive
concurrent sentence
: a sentence that runs at the same time as another
consecutive sentence
: a sentence that runs before or after another
cumulative sentence
: consecutive sentence in this entry also : the combination of two or more consecutive sentences
death sentence
: a sentence condemning the convicted defendant to death
determinate sentence \ di-​ˈtər-​mə-​nət-​ \
: a sentence for a fixed rather than indeterminate length of time
general sentence
: a sentence that does not allocate the punishment imposed for the individual counts on which the defendant was convicted

Note: General sentences are impermissible.

indeterminate sentence \ ˌin-​di-​ˈtər-​mə-​nət-​ \
: a sentence of minimum and maximum duration with the exact length to be later determined (as by a parole board)
life sentence
: a sentence of imprisonment for the rest of the convicted defendant's life
mandatory sentence
: a sentence that is specifically required or falls within a range required by statute as punishment for an offense imposed the minimum mandatory sentence for distributing drugs near a school
presumptive sentence
: a sentence that is the presumed punishment for an offense and is subject to the upward or downward adjustment of its severity depending on aggravating and mitigating factors
split sentence
: a sentence of which part is served in prison and the other suspended and usually replaced by probation
suspended sentence
: a sentence the imposition or execution of which is suspended by the court

sentence

transitive verb
sentenced; sentencing

Legal Definition of sentence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to impose a sentence on

History and Etymology for sentence

Noun

Old French, opinion, judicial sentence, from Latin sententia, ultimately from sentire to feel, think, express an opinion

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