Definition of probation in US 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 given a community service order and put on probation.’
    • ‘He was tested for alcohol and failed, then was arrested for breaching his probation order.’
    • ‘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. 1.1 The 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’
      • ‘He is the new Scotland captain but he's still on probation as far as I'm concerned.’
      • ‘I was a first year teacher, on probation, and I didn't get particularly good classes.’
      • ‘In the past many new teachers had to work for months or even years in supply work to complete their probation.’
      • ‘Those who are successful then go on probation for another six months and are allocated a mentor.’
      • ‘We are on probation, which is right and proper, and we have a year to prepare, which is excellent.’
      • ‘I had a bad semester, being away from home in a new town and with nobody around, and ended up on academic probation.’
      • ‘Every week the teachers pick the three worst-performing students and put them on probation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One employee was suspended without pay for two weeks and another was put on three-month probation.’
      • ‘To my surprise, I found a letter in the mail stating that I was on academic probation.’
      • ‘He did not condemn the new Labour administration, but rather felt that they were on probation.’
      trial period, test period, experimental period, trial
      View synonyms


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