[proh-bey-shuh n]


Origin of probation

1375–1425; late Middle English probacion < Latin probātiōn- (stem of probātiō). See probate, -ion
Related formspro·ba·tion·al, pro·ba·tion·ar·y [proh-bey-shuh-ner-ee] /proʊˈbeɪ ʃəˌnɛr i/, adjectivepro·ba·tion·ship, nounnon·pro·ba·tion, nounun·pro·ba·tion·al, adjectiveun·pro·ba·tion·ar·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for probation

trial, apprenticeship

Examples from the Web for probation

Contemporary Examples of probation

Historical Examples of probation

  • There is nothing about the earth-life to make it the only phase of effort and probation.

  • Miss Grange, who had been kind to Sidney in her probation months, taught her the method.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But this was only his second detection, and three of his four days of probation were past.

  • The first time you've ever warned me that I was on probation, Sally!

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • His state of probation is closed, and he goes to the place for which he is prepared.

British Dictionary definitions for probation



a system of dealing with offenders by placing them under the supervision of a probation officer
on probation
  1. under the supervision of a probation officer
  2. undergoing a test period
a trial period, as for a teacher, religious novitiate, etc
the act of proving or testing
a period during which a new employee may have his employment terminated on the grounds of unsuitability
Derived Formsprobational or probationary, adjectiveprobationally, adverb
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 probation

early 15c., "trial, experiment, test," from Old French probacion "proof, evidence" (14c., Modern French probation) and directly from Latin probationem (nominative probatio) "approval, assent; a proving, trial, inspection, examination," noun of action from past participle stem of probare "to test" (see prove). Meaning "testing of a person's conduct" (especially as a trial period for membership) is from early 15c.; theological sense first recorded 1520s; criminal justice sense is recorded by 1866. As a verb from 1640s. Related: Probationer; probationary.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper