• synonyms


or hoos·gow

noun Slang.
  1. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for hoosgow

Historical Examples of hoosgow

  • We was kind of ashamed to come back, right off, after they turned us loose from the hoosgow.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories

    Albert Payson Terhune

  • After all the time youve spent in the hoosgow since you joined, I should think youd know that.

British Dictionary definitions for hoosgow



  1. US a slang word for jail
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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

Word Origin and History for hoosgow



"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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper