[ jeyl-breyk ]
/ ˈdʒeɪlˌbreɪk /


an escape from prison, especially by forcible means.
Digital Technology.
  1. an instance of gaining access to the operating system of a smartphone, tablet, etc., especially one manufactured by Apple.
  2. a software program or piece of hardware used to accomplish this: You'll need a jailbreak to run unauthorized apps.
  3. an instance of circumventing restrictions on access to any computer system or digital content.

verb (used with object), jail·broke [jeyl-brohk] /ˈdʒeɪlˌbroʊk/, jail·brok·en [jeyl-broh-kuh n] /ˈdʒeɪlˌbroʊ kən/, jail·break·ing.

Digital Technology. to gain access to the operating system of (a smartphone, tablet, etc., especially an Apple device), usually in order to run modified or unauthorized software.Compare root1(def 22a).

verb (used without object), jail·broke [jeyl-brohk] /ˈdʒeɪlˌbroʊk/, jail·brok·en [jeyl-broh-kuh n] /ˈdʒeɪlˌbroʊ kən/, jail·break·ing.

Digital Technology. to engage in this practice: Manufacturers are trying to prevent jailbreaking.Compare root1(def 24).

Nearby words

  1. jail,
  2. jail delivery,
  3. jail fever,
  4. jailbait,
  5. jailbird,
  6. jailer,
  7. jailhouse,
  8. jailhouse lawyer,
  9. jain,
  10. jaina

Origin of jailbreak

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10; jail + break

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for jailbroken


/ (ˈdʒeɪlˌbreɪk) /


Also: gaolbreak an escape from jail
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 jailbroken



also jail-break, "prison escape," 1872, perhaps 1828, from jail (n.) + break (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper