- a prison, especially one for the detention of persons awaiting trial or convicted of minor offenses.
- to take into or hold in lawful custody; imprison.
Origin of jail
Examples from the Web for gaol
The freelancer has since served a gaol term, and so too has the paper's royal correspondent.Murdoch Lieutenant Under Fire
March 11, 2011
At York, we were put in the gaol, where we were kept three weeks.
When we reached Montreal we were confined in a gaol where we remained three weeks.
Is it no punishment, sir, for an innocent man to lie several months in gaol?Joseph Andrews Vol. 1
After such an answer, Wingate could only send him to gaol: he could not help himself.
They were apprehended, thrown into gaol, and brought to formal trial.
- British a variant spelling of jail
- a place for the confinement of persons convicted and sentenced to imprisonment or of persons awaiting trial to whom bail is not granted
- get out of jail or get out of jail free informal to get out of a difficult situation
- (tr) to confine in prison
Word Origin and History for gaol
see jail, you tea-sodden football hooligan.
late 13c., gayhol, from Old North French gaiole and Old French jaole, both meaning "a cage, prison," from Medieval Latin gabiola, from Late Latin caveola, diminutive of Latin cavea "cage, enclosure, stall, coop" (see cave (n.)). Both forms carried into Middle English; now pronounced "jail" however it is spelled. Persistence of Norman-derived gaol (preferred in Britain) is "chiefly due to statutory and official tradition" [OED].
"to put in jail," c.1600, from jail (n.). Related: Jailed; jailing.