Definition of prison in English:

prison

noun

  • A building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed or while awaiting trial.

    ‘he died in prison’
    ‘both men were sent to prison’
    • ‘They are in prison surrounded by people, but prisons are the loneliest places on earth.’
    • ‘In rare cases a life sentence may mean life in prison, but such cases are very rare.’
    • ‘In some cases the prison regime may be a contributory factor in a prisoner's decision to end his own life.’
    • ‘He was currently in prison on remand pending trial for conspiracy to murder.’
    • ‘It can only review the cases of prisoners serving a prison sentence of eight years or more.’
    • ‘The prisoners are in prison because they are presumed to have been properly convicted.’
    • ‘It was at the forefront of opposing capital punishment and demanding prison reform.’
    • ‘Texas, the leader in prisons and capital punishment nationwide, had 534,260 on parole or probation.’
    • ‘Relatively more mentally ill people end up in prisons as the prison population diminishes.’
    • ‘She had earlier spent several months in the prison on remand while awaiting trial.’
    • ‘I had been in local prisons, but then I landed up in prison far away from my own home.’
    • ‘Gansler added that Tyson should still be in prison for the crimes he has committed.’
    • ‘The significance of this duty to those detained in prison, not least where prisons are crowded and prisoners often dangerous, is obvious.’
    • ‘People who have been in prison and who visit prisons will be with us.’
    • ‘I was told that Mr Young is in prison in the USA awaiting trial on charges of fraud.’
    • ‘And it would not even be necessary for the suspect to commit a crime for them to face a prison sentence.’
    • ‘We have all heard the stories about what prisons are like, I don't believe in prison being a totally horrific place, but I do think it has to be a bit more of a deterrent.’
    • ‘These homes are built for children whose parents are in prison serving life sentences!’
    • ‘Prisoners in high security prisons are (given the risks they pose in general) routinely subject to strip searches.’
    • ‘The number of people serving life sentences in British prisons, revealed by the Prison Reform Trust.’
    jail, penal institution, place of detention, lock-up, place of confinement, guardhouse, detention centre
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]literary
  • Imprison.

    ‘the young man prisoned behind the doors’
    • ‘The soft gaze of his eyes vanished as they adjusted to the metal grates prisoning and protecting his eyeholes.’

Usage

In North America, prison specifically denotes a facility run by the state (in Canada provincial) or federal government for those who have been convicted of serious crimes, whereas jail denotes a locally run facility for those awaiting trial or convicted of minor offenses

Origin

Late Old English, from Old French prisun, from Latin prensio(n-), variant of prehensio(n-) ‘laying hold of’, from the verb prehendere.

Pronunciation

prison

/ˈprɪzən//ˈprizən/