[brahyd-wel, -wuh l]

Origin of bridewell

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

Examples from the Web for bridewell

Historical Examples of bridewell

British Dictionary definitions for bridewell


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

Word Origin for bridewell

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper