[kuh n-fahyn-muh nt]


the act of confining.
the state of being confined.
the lying-in of a woman in childbed; accouchement; childbirth.
Military. incarceration in a guardhouse or prison while awaiting trial or as a punishment (distinguished from arrest).

Origin of confinement

1640–50; confine + -ment; compare French confinement
Related formsnon·con·fine·ment, nounpost·con·fine·ment, nounpre·con·fine·ment, nounself-con·fine·ment, nounsem·i·con·fine·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for confinement

Contemporary Examples of confinement

Historical Examples of confinement

  • There was, in every room, an aged smell, grown faint with confinement.

    To be Read at Dusk

    Charles Dickens

  • It is impossible to say when I shall be able to come to you; my confinement must be great.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • All this I heard in my prison, and it served to reconcile me to the confinement.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • We were well treated, however, suffering no other confinement than that of the ship.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The next day, at noon, Calderon visited Fonseca in his place of confinement.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for confinement



the act of confining or the state of being confined
the period from the onset of labour to the birth of a child
physics another name for containment (def. 3)
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 confinement

1590s, from French confinement (16c.; the Old French word was confinacion), from confiner (see confine). As a euphemism for "childbed" it dates from 1774 (the Middle English expression was Our Lady's bands).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

confinement in Medicine




The act of restricting or the state of being restricted in movement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.