• synonyms


[brahyd-wel, -wuh l]
noun British.
  1. a prison.
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Origin of bridewell

First recorded in 1545–55; after a prison that formerly stood near the church of St. Bride in London
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bridewell

Historical Examples

  • To this it was remarked, that they were only fit for Bridewell.

    Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745

    Mrs. Thomson

  • Another public granary was established in 1610 at Bridewell Palace.

  • Labour is sweet, sir: but not hard labour in the dungeons of a Bridewell.

  • "I was not speaking of the Bridewell, but of the Prison," I said.

    The Reckoning

    Robert W. Chambers

  • Thence home and to the Tower to see the men from Bridewell shipped.

British Dictionary definitions for bridewell


  1. a house of correction; jail, esp for minor offences
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Word Origin

C16: after Bridewell (originally, St Bride's Well), a house of correction in London
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

Word Origin and History for bridewell


"prison," 1550s, from Bridewell, house of correction in London, originally a royal lodging (given by Edward VI for a hospital, later converted to a prison) near Bride's Well, short for St. Bridget's Well.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper