- a prison, especially one for the detention of persons awaiting trial or convicted of minor offenses.
- to take into or hold in lawful custody; imprison.
Origin of jail
Related Words for jailpenitentiary, lockup, cell, prison, confine, sentence, imprison, detain, hold, dungeon, pound, solitary, cooler, stir, inside, joint, pen, stockade, reformatory, clink
Examples from the Web for jail
Contemporary Examples of jail
Violators face up to nine months in jail or as much as $10,000 in fines.Judge: Rehoming Kids Is Trafficking
December 30, 2014
There are millions of stories that end with black boys in jail cells.Bobby Shmurda and Rap’s Ultimate Hoop Dream
December 23, 2014
Brinsley got out of jail last July, and was desperate and aimless.Alleged Cop Killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley Had a Death Wish
December 22, 2014
The only physician she was permitted to see was the jail doctor.States Slap Pregnant Women With Harsher Jail Sentences
December 12, 2014
Even if her clients are convicted—and she does have many now in jail—she at least brings attention to their cases.The Straight Hero of Cameroon’s Gays
December 10, 2014
Historical Examples of jail
After laying in the jail at Holly Springs about three weeks Wilson came for me.Biography of a Slave
"The jail of the county is at Welland, the county town," replied the constable.
I came here for rest and quiet, and I am going to have them, if I have to go to jail for them.
Another had a brother in jail, who could not be got out without me.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
A writ by which a man may be taken out of jail when confined for the wrong crime.The Devil's Dictionary
- 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
- (tr) to confine in prison
Word Origin for jail
late 13c., gayhol, from Old North French gaiole and Old French jaole, both meaning "a cage, prison," from Medieval Latin gabiola, from Late Latin caveola, diminutive of Latin cavea "cage, enclosure, stall, coop" (see cave (n.)). Both forms carried into Middle English; now pronounced "jail" however it is spelled. Persistence of Norman-derived gaol (preferred in Britain) is "chiefly due to statutory and official tradition" [OED].
"to put in jail," c.1600, from jail (n.). Related: Jailed; jailing.