Definition of probation in English:



  • 1The release of an offender from detention, subject to a period of good behavior under supervision.

    ‘I went to court and was put on probation’
    • ‘There would be advance from punishment to probation and from probation to release.’
    • ‘He was tested for alcohol and failed, then was arrested for breaching his probation order.’
    • ‘He was given a community service order and put on probation.’
    • ‘In a four-star hotel in Swindon he was arrested, remanded and released on probation.’
    • ‘She was put on probation for 18 months and ordered to pay the conductor £100 compensation.’
    1. 1.1The process or period of testing or observing the character or abilities of a person in a certain role, for example, a new employee.
      ‘for an initial period of probation, your manager will closely monitor your progress’
      • ‘One employee was suspended without pay for two weeks and another was put on three-month probation.’
      • ‘He did not condemn the new Labour administration, but rather felt that they were on probation.’
      • ‘I had a bad semester, being away from home in a new town and with nobody around, and ended up on academic probation.’
      • ‘To my surprise, I found a letter in the mail stating that I was on academic probation.’
      • ‘Those who are successful then go on probation for another six months and are allocated a mentor.’
      • ‘There have been no calls for his head as yet by institutional investors but he is regarded, at least by some, as being on probation.’
      • ‘He is the new Scotland captain but he's still on probation as far as I'm concerned.’
      • ‘In the past many new teachers had to work for months or even years in supply work to complete their probation.’
      • ‘I was a first year teacher, on probation, and I didn't get particularly good classes.’
      • ‘We are on probation, which is right and proper, and we have a year to prepare, which is excellent.’
      • ‘Every week the teachers pick the three worst-performing students and put them on probation.’
      trial period, test period, experimental period, trial
      apprenticeship, traineeship, training, novitiate
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (denoting testing, investigation, or examination): from Old French probacion, from Latin probatio(n-), from probare to test, prove (see prove). The legal use dates from the late 19th century.