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Legal Dictionary

jail

Legal Definition of jail

Related terms


Definition of jail

Alternative spellings

  • gaol (British, Australian)

Etymology

    From Middle English jaiole < Late Latin caveola < Latin cavea

Pronunciation

Noun

jail (countable and uncountable; plural jails)

  1. A prison; a place of detention; a place where a person convicted or suspected of a crime is detained.
  2. (uncountable) Confinement in a jail.
  3. (slang) school

    I have to go to jail for 5 days per week.

  4. (horse racing) The requirements that a horse claimed in a claiming race not be run at another track for (usually) 30 days.

Usage notes

  • (prison): 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.

Synonyms

  • big house
  • hoosegow
  • prison
  • slammer

Derived terms

  • jailbait
  • jailbird
  • jailbreak
  • jailer
  • jail sentence

Verb

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

  1. To imprison.

Synonyms

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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