English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English gayole, gaylle, gaille, gayle, gaile, via Old French gaiole, gayolle, gaole, from Medieval Latin gabiola, for Late Latin caveola, a diminutive of Latin cavea (cavity, coop, cage). Doublet of caveola and related to cage. More at cajole.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /d͡ʒeɪ(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪl

Noun edit

jail (countable and uncountable, plural jails)

  1. A place or institution for the confinement of persons held against their will in lawful custody or detention, especially (in US usage) a place where people are held for minor offenses or with reference to some future judicial proceeding.
    Synonyms: slammer, hoosegow
    Hypernyms: correctional facility, correctional institution
    Coordinate terms: big house, prison
    • 1966, Robert Coover, “Part II, section 11”, in The Origin of the Brunists, 1st edition, page 218:
      Taking a shower at the high school, Tommy (the Kitten) Cavanaugh kids Ugly Palmers. "Ugly, if you think the world is coming to an end," he says, "what are you wasting your time here at this jail for? You gonna need American history up there?"
    • 2015 June 7, “Bail”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 2, episode 16, John Oliver (actor), via HBO:
      “I’m out!” That, of course, is an excerpt from Robert Durst’s children’s books [sic], Goodbye Jail. “Goodbye money. Goodbye bail. I killed them all, but goodbye jail. Of course! Of course!”
  2. (uncountable) Confinement in a jail.
    • 2011 December 14, Steven Morris, “Devon woman jailed for 168 days for killing kitten in microwave”, in Guardian[1]:
      He said Robins had not been in trouble with the law before and had no previous convictions. Jail would have an adverse effect on her and her three children as she was the main carer.
  3. (horse racing, uncountable) The condition created by the requirement that a horse claimed in a claiming race not be run at another track for some period of time (usually 30 days).
  4. In dodgeball and related games, the area where players who have been struck by the ball are confined.
  5. (computing, FreeBSD, usually uncountable) A kind of sandbox for running a guest operating system instance.

Usage notes edit

  This section or entry lacks references or sources. Please help verify this information by adding appropriate citations. You can also discuss it at the Tea Room.
Particularly: “evidence that the board game Monopoly played a role in the trend towards “jail” spelling”
  • (place of confinement): Like many nouns denoting places where people spend time, jail requires no article after certain prepositions: hence in jail (detained in a jail), go to jail (become detained in a jail), and so on. The forms in a jail, go to a jail, and so on do exist, but tend to imply mere presence in the jail, rather than detention there. Compare also in the hoosegow/slammer.
  • Until the boardgame Monopoly popularised the spelling jail in the UK and Australia, gaol was the standard spelling in these countries.
  • In the United States, reference works sometimes draw a distinction between jails and prisons, saying that jails are for housing people before trial and prisons are for serving sentences, or that jails are run locally and prisons are run by states or the federal government. In popular speech this distinction is often not followed; and sentences are in fact served in some county jails (so the distinction is not rigorously upheld). In other parts of the English-speaking world, the two terms are often synonymous. The distinction between jail and lockup is not rigorous in American English; differentiation (if any) depends on locale, although the distinction between a police station and a county jail usually figures into it. A penitentiary is solely a place for serving sentences (a prison, not a jail).

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Hindustani:
    • Hindi: जेल (jel)
    • Urdu: ⁧جیل(jel)
  • Punjabi: ਜੇਲ੍ਹ (jelh)
  • Welsh: jêl, jael

Translations edit

Verb edit

jail (third-person singular simple present jails, present participle jailing, simple past and past participle jailed)

  1. To imprison.
    • 2013 August 10, “Can China clean up fast enough?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      It has jailed environmental activists and is planning to limit the power of judicial oversight by handing a state-approved body a monopoly over bringing environmental lawsuits.
    • 2020 September 9, “Network News: Man jailed for Hillingdon murder”, in Rail, page 25:
      A 22-year-old man has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years for fatally stabbing 22-year-old Tashan Daniel in an unprovoked attack at Hillingdon Underground station on September 24 2019.

Synonyms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  • jail”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.

Anagrams edit