Definition of sentence in English:



  • 1A set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.

    • ‘The first two sentences of paragraph 100 would certainly have had to be revised.’
    • ‘What I wanted to teach these people was not to decipher words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages or even pages into books.’
    • ‘The key word in the last sentence is in quotation marks because, as Tolstoy made clear in War and Peace, there are as many truths about a given battle, after it, as there were participants in it.’
    • ‘But the sentences in question don't have to be long and cumbersome like the ones above.’
    • ‘The first sentence of paragraph 40 is accordingly to be treated as an admission.’
    • ‘Subjects select words to complete the sentences from a list provided.’
    • ‘Start sentences with subjects and verbs, and let other words branch off to the right.’
    • ‘I tried to talk but I couldn't quite concentrate on single words or forming complete sentences at the moment.’
    • ‘It's quite different from English, too, in that it puts the verb at the end of the sentence and uses postpositions instead of prepositions.’
    • ‘Traditional grammars say that sentences express complete thoughts.’
    • ‘For example, it apparently tells you not to end sentences with prepositions.’
    • ‘Then he has the nerve to put a exclamation mark after the sentence!’
    • ‘Well-made typefaces are designed with consistent spacing in mind: between letters, words, sentences, and lines.’
    • ‘And in cases of that sort, everyone has always agreed that such words can end a sentence.’
    • ‘Can I finish a sentence in this paragraph without using a question mark?’
    • ‘Both the words and the ways they are combined into sentences convey meaning.’
    • ‘You can almost feel her carefully constructed outline unfolding as you proceed through the words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages.’
    • ‘I was about to finish a sentence with a preposition there, something I never do.’
    • ‘A slight lift in the voice at the end of a sentence changes statement to question.’
    • ‘Words, phrases, sentences, and doctrinal teachings were subjected to close analysis and correct definitions and interpretations were recorded.’
    1. 1.1Logic A series of signs or symbols expressing a proposition in an artificial or logical language.
      • ‘To say that a given sentence is logically possible is to say that there is a model that satisfies it.’
      • ‘This distinction allows us to define a logical truth as a sentence that is true no matter what referring expressions occur in it.’
      • ‘A second effect of Goodman's discussion was to undermine the orthodox assumption that confirmation is an exclusively logical relation between sentences.’
      • ‘Logical inferences are then defined as relations between propositions or sentences, abstracting from the mental attitudes that go along with them.’
      • ‘Since it does not succeed in expressing a proposition, the liar sentence is neither true nor false and the paradox is avoided.’
  • 2The punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court, or fixed by law for a particular offense.

    ‘her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud’
    ‘slander of an official carried an eight-year prison sentence’
    • ‘But the Supreme Court sympathetically commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘He was also handed a 10-year concurrent sentence for robbery.’
    • ‘A death sentence was commuted to life in prison, then cut to ten years.’
    • ‘Some US states, such as Hawaii, have far more lenient laws than Texas in such cases and would allow treatment rather than a prison sentence or death penalty.’
    • ‘He could have received a maximum jail sentence of 81 years for these crimes.’
    • ‘He will be sentenced this week and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.’
    • ‘Some Australian states impose a mandatory minimum sentence for wilful murder.’
    • ‘Some of them have been tortured or given heavy prison sentences for this offence alone.’
    • ‘We accept that courts should consider each of these dimensions whenever a sentence for rape is imposed.’
    • ‘The relatively lenient sentence has been widely interpreted as a blow to Southeast Asian efforts to combat terrorism.’
    • ‘The magistrates decided against sending the boy to crown court for a harsher sentence.’
    • ‘He had also received separate suspended jail sentences for fraud offences.’
    • ‘Soldiers who turn themselves in by February, 2004, earn lenient sentences.’
    • ‘He received the maximum fine and was given a suspended two-year prison sentence.’
    • ‘Once the prison sentence imposed by the court has been served, one cannot say that the sentencing court had it in mind that the offender should be detained unless it was shown that he was no longer a danger.’
    • ‘The decision has opened the way for further reviews of sentences meted out to teenagers.’
    • ‘He was found guilty of nine counts of his indictment and sentenced to life imprisonment (his sentences, ranging from ten years to life run concurrently).’
    • ‘He was ordered to complete a remaining eight month sentence for that offence before starting the latest jail term.’
    • ‘No Greek police officer has served a custodial sentence for crimes committed while serving.’
    judgement, ruling, pronouncement, decision, determination, decree
    prison term, prison sentence, jail sentence, penal sentence
    View synonyms


  • Declare the punishment decided for (an offender)

    ‘ten army officers were sentenced to death’
    • ‘Third offenders were normally sentenced to serve a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail.’
    • ‘He was subsequently sentenced to a total of 8 years' imprisonment.’
    • ‘Second, the judge must have already decided to sentence the offender to a prison term of less than two years duration.’
    • ‘Currently between 150 and 250 people are sentenced to prison every week.’
    • ‘The eight accused were sentenced to jail terms ranging from six weeks to 34 months.’
    • ‘He was released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at a later date.’
    • ‘I applaud those judges who are sentencing those offenders to prison.’
    • ‘Four co-defendants were also sentenced to prison during the retrial.’
    • ‘He was subsequently charged and sentenced in absentia to 22 years in prison for embezzlement.’
    • ‘A devoted father is to be sentenced by magistrates next month.’
    • ‘Having been found guilty, all three were each sentenced yesterday to one year imprisonment.’
    • ‘All the 78 defendants were sentenced for the offences they were charged with.’
    • ‘The learned judge had just decided he hadn't used the right phrases when sentencing the last defendant.’
    • ‘You have to sentence on the basis of the indictment.’
    • ‘She was convicted of murdering them and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.’
    • ‘He also undertook to give evidence for the Crown and was sentenced on that basis.’
    • ‘Many were tortured and eventually sentenced to prison, although little credible evidence was presented against them.’
    • ‘A dozen men were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms.’
    • ‘He was therefore sentenced to a total of three years and six months' imprisonment.’
    • ‘He was also sentenced to 10 years probation, counseling and 1,000 hours of community service.’
    pass judgement on, impose a sentence on, pronounce sentence on, mete out punishment to, punish, convict
    condemn, doom
    View synonyms


  • under sentence of

    • Having been condemned to.

      ‘he was under sentence of death’
      • ‘The likely effect for someone under sentence of death is that he would go through periods of agony alternating with periods of hope.’
      • ‘Article 40.4.50 deals with the special situation of where a person under sentence of death applies to the High Court for an inquiry under Article 40.4 as to the legality of his or her detention.’
      • ‘In York, the holder of the hangman's post was usually himself a convicted villain under sentence of death, who was pardoned on condition he accept the unsavoury job.’
      • ‘Three people were executed in 2000 and more than 100 prisoners remained under sentence of death at the end of the year, the report said.’
      • ‘When the Ruling Council investigated the matter and discovered what was happening they sentenced the scientists to prison under sentence of death.’
      • ‘An Ethiopian woman remained under sentence of death.’
      • ‘They do not think it would be fair to deprive anyone presently under sentence of death of the benefit of the Roodal decision.’
      • ‘Unlike so many Bresson characters, Fontaine is convinced that he has free will, even in the unlikely situation of prison, under sentence of death.’
      • ‘According to Amnesty International in 2004 across the USA, 59 prisoners were executed, and over 3,400 prisoners were under sentence of death.’
      • ‘At last he was recaptured for being at large in Britain while under sentence of transportation.’


Middle English (in the senses way of thinking, opinion court's declaration of punishment and gist (of a piece of writing)): via Old French from Latin sententia opinion from sentire feel, be of the opinion.