- Grammar. a grammatical unit of one or more words that expresses an independent statement, question, request, command, exclamation, etc., and that typically has a subject as well as a predicate, as in John is here. or Is John here? In print or writing, a sentence typically begins with a capital letter and ends with appropriate punctuation; in speech it displays recognizable, communicative intonation patterns and is often marked by preceding and following pauses.
- an authoritative decision; a judicial judgment or decree, especially the judicial determination of the punishment to be inflicted on a convicted criminal: Knowledgeable sources say that the judge will announce the sentence early next week.
- the punishment itself; term: a three-year sentence.
- Music. a complete idea, usually consisting of eight to sixteen measures; period(def 18).See also phrase(def 4).
- Archaic. a saying, apothegm, or maxim.
- Obsolete. an opinion given on a particular question.
- to pronounce sentence upon; condemn to punishment: The judge sentenced her to six months in jail.
Origin of sentence
In everyday speech we routinely use phrases or clauses that would not make a complete sentence—so-called sentence fragments —because the conversation or the circumstances make the meaning clear. For example, we might answer a question like “Where did you go?” with “To the store,” or “Why can’t I stay out till midnight?” with “Because I say so,” or “What are you doing?” with “Trying to fix this toaster,” instead of “I went to the store,” “You can't stay out that late because I say so,” or “I am trying to fix this toaster.” In written dialogue sentence fragments are perfectly acceptable. They would generally be regarded as sentences simply because they begin with a capital letter and end with a suitable punctuation mark. But they are not sentences in a strict grammatical sense. And as a rule, sentence fragments are frowned upon in formal or expository writing. They can be useful—indeed, powerful—but in such writing they are effective only if used sparingly, in order to achieve a deliberate special effect: We will not give up fighting for this cause. Not now. Not ever.
Related Words for sentenceedict, term, decision, censure, order, penalty, verdict, ruling, judgment, punishment, incarcerate, penalize, punish, blame, jail, imprison, convict, confine, condemn, knock
Examples from the Web for sentence
Contemporary Examples of sentence
Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice turned herself in to serve a 15-month sentence for bankruptcy fraud.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’
January 6, 2015
She began her quest for equal rights shortly after her three-month sentence.A Quorum For Change: The Fight For Global LGBT Equality
December 11, 2014
Short trials produce convictions and sentences, but the time is often run concurrently, not adding any time to the sentence.A Million Ways to Die in Prison
December 8, 2014
He was nearing the end of his sentence, but the woman enlisted Joplin to marry them before he was released.Saying Yes to the Dress—Behind Bars
December 8, 2014
He remains serving a three-year sentence for embezzlement that he was convicted on in May.Mubarak’s Acquittal Signals Complete Triumph of Military Over Arab Spring
November 29, 2014
Historical Examples of sentence
Something in her heart or her throat prevented Hester from finishing the sentence.
Let me tell you that Dirk Colson would not have repeated that sentence for the world!Ester Ried Yet Speaking
She told him her mother had read but the first sentence or two.
And he finished his sentence with a practical illustration of his frame of mind.In the Midst of Alarms
This sentence was as humiliating and mortifying as anything that could be put upon him.The Boy Life of Napoleon
- a sequence of words capable of standing alone to make an assertion, ask a question, or give a command, usually consisting of a subject and a predicate containing a finite verb
- the judgment formally pronounced upon a person convicted in criminal proceedings, esp the decision as to what punishment is to be imposed
- an opinion, judgment, or decision
- music another word for period (def. 11)
- any short passage of scripture employed in liturgical usethe funeral sentences
- logic a well-formed expression, without variables
- archaic a proverb, maxim, or aphorism
- (tr) to pronounce sentence on (a convicted person) in a court of lawthe judge sentenced the murderer to life imprisonment
Word Origin for sentence
c.1200, "doctrine, authoritative teaching; an authoritative pronouncement," from Old French sentence "judgment, decision; meaning; aphorism, maxim; statement of authority" (12c.) and directly from Latin sententia "thought, way of thinking, opinion; judgment, decision," also "a thought expressed; aphorism, saying," from sentientem, present participle of sentire "be of opinion, feel, perceive" (see sense (n.)). Loss of first -i- in Latin by dissimilation.
From early 14c. as "judgment rendered by God, or by one in authority; a verdict, decision in court;" from late 14c. as "understanding, wisdom; edifying subject matter." From late 14c. as "subject matter or content of a letter, book, speech, etc.," also in reference to a passage in a written work. Sense of "grammatically complete statement" is attested from mid-15c. "Meaning," then "meaning expressed in words." Related: Sentential.
"to pass judgment," c.1400, from sentence (n.). Related: Sentenced; sentencing.