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or hoosgow

[hoos-gou] /ˈhus gaʊ/
noun, Slang.
a jail.
Origin of hoosegow
1860-65, Americanism; < Mexican Spanish jusgado jail (Spanish: court of justice, orig. past participle of juzgar to judge) < Latin jūdicātum, equivalent to jūdic- (stem of jūdex) judge + -ātum -ate1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hoosegow
Historical Examples
  • "The boss is in the hoosegow," answered Pete, his voice tragic.

    Good References E. J. Rath
  • It's a long walk down to the hoosegow and I don't want to take you there.

    Young People's Pride Stephen Vincent Benet
  • The next thing I heard, two men we've been keeping an eye on were in the hoosegow, one with a slug in his shoulder.

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
  • It would infuriate the Judge to sentence those buzzards to the hoosegow for life.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
British Dictionary definitions for hoosegow


(US) a slang word for jail
Word Origin
C20: from Mexican Spanish jusgado prison, from Spanish: court of justice, from juzgar to judge, from Latin judicāre, from judex a judge; compare jug
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hoosegow

"jail," 1911, western U.S., probably from mispronunciation of Mexican Spanish juzgao "tribunal, court," from juzgar "to judge," used as a noun, from Latin judicare "to judge," which is related to judicem (see judge (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hoosegow



A jail

[1911+; fr Mexican Spanish juzgao, ''tribunal, court'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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