- 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.
verb (used with object), sen·tenced, sen·tenc·ing.
- sentence adverb,
- sentence connector,
- sentence fragment,
- sentence stress,
- sentence substitute
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.
Examples from the Web for 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’|Michael Howard|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
She began her quest for equal rights shortly after her three-month sentence.A Quorum For Change: The Fight For Global LGBT Equality|Justin Jones|December 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Short trials produce convictions and sentences, but the time is often run concurrently, not adding any time to the sentence.
He was nearing the end of his sentence, but the woman enlisted Joplin to marry them before he was released.
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|Jamie Dettmer|November 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Presently he stopped short in his walk—stopped talking, with a gasp, in the middle of a sentence, and looked into her face.The Real Adventure|Henry Kitchell Webster
Part of this letter (5th sentence to 8th) is quoted by Empson, Edinb.
"I thought——" Here he stopped short, the worthy man was quite incapable at that moment of completing his sentence.The Slaves of the Padishah|Mr Jkai
It won't take us long to get your status, pay your fine, or get the judge to suspend your sentence.David Lannarck, Midget|George S. Harney
Granny couldn't wait for him to put a period to his sentence.Rebecca's Promise|Frances R. Sterrett
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.