Dictionary.com

jail

[ jeyl ]
/ dʒeɪl /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: jail / jailed / jailing on Thesaurus.com

noun
a prison, especially one for the detention of persons awaiting trial or convicted of minor offenses.
verb (used with object)
to take into or hold in lawful custody; imprison.

VIDEO FOR JAIL

What Is The Difference Between "Jail" And "Prison"?

Would you rather go to jail or prison? We'll help you with this hypothetical decision, don't worry!

MORE VIDEOS FROM DICTIONARY.COM
QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
Also British, gaol .

Origin of jail

1225–75; Middle English gaiole, jaiole, jaile<Old North French gaiole,Old French jaiole cage <Vulgar Latin *gaviola, variant of *caveola, diminutive of Latin caveacage; see -ole1

OTHER WORDS FROM jail

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH jail

jail , prison
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use jail in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jail

jail

gaol

/ (dʒeɪl) /

noun
a place for the confinement of persons convicted and sentenced to imprisonment or of persons awaiting trial to whom bail is not granted
get out of jail or get out of jail free informal to get out of a difficult situation
verb
(tr) to confine in prison

Derived forms of jail

jailless or gaolless, adjectivejail-like or gaol-like, adjective

Word Origin for jail

C13: from Old French jaiole cage, from Vulgar Latin caveola (unattested), from Latin cavea enclosure; see cage : the two spellings derive from the forms of the word that developed in two different areas of France, and the spelling gaol represents a pronunciation in use until the 17th century
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
FEEDBACK