or hoos·gow

[ hoos-gou ]
/ ˈhus gaʊ /

noun Slang.

a jail.


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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for hoosegow

  • It would infuriate the Judge to sentence those buzzards to the hoosegow for life.

    David Lannarck, Midget|George S. Harney
  • 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'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 boss is in the hoosegow," answered Pete, his voice tragic.

    Good References|E. J. Rath

British Dictionary definitions for hoosegow



/ (ˈhuːsɡaʊ) /


US a slang word for jail

Word Origin for hoosegow

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