What does prison mean?

Definitions for prison
ˈprɪz ənprison

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word prison.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. prison, prison housenoun

    a correctional institution where persons are confined while on trial or for punishment

  2. prison, prison housenoun

    a prisonlike situation; a place of seeming confinement


  1. prisonnoun

    A place of long-term confinement for those convicted of serious crimes, or otherwise considered undesirable by the government.

    The cold stone walls of the prison had stood for over a century.

  2. prisonnoun

    Confinement in a prison.

    Prison was a harrowing experience for him.

  3. prisonnoun

    Any restrictive environment, such as a harsh academy or home.

    The academy was a prison for many of its students because of its strict teachers.

  4. prisonverb

    to imprison

  5. Etymology: From prison, from prehensionem, accusative singular of prehensio, from prehendo

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRISONnoun

    A strong hold in which persons are confined; a gaol.

    Etymology: prison, Fr.

    He hath commission
    To hang Cordelia in the prison. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    For those rebellious here their pris’n ordain’d. John Milton.

    I thought our utmost good
    Was in one word of freedom understood,
    The fatal blessing came; from prison free,
    I starve abroad, and lose the sight of Emily. Dryden.

    Unkind! can you, whom only I adore,
    Set open to your slave the prison door. Dryden.

    The tyrant Æolus,
    With pow’r imperial, curbs the struggling winds,
    And sounding tempests in dark prisons binds. Dryden.

    He, that has his chains knocked off, and the prison doors
    set open to him, is presently at liberty. John Locke.

  2. To Prisonverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs,
    They, as they sung, would take the prison’d soul,
    And lap it in Elysium. John Milton.

    Universal plodding prisons up
    The nimble spirits in the arteries. William Shakespeare.

    Then did the king enlarge
    The spleen he prison’d. George Chapman, Iliads.


  1. Prison

    A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, British English, Australian, South African and historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention center (or detention centre outside the US), correction center, correctional facility, lock-up, hoosegow or remand center, is a facility in which inmates (or prisoners) are confined against their will and usually denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state as punishment for various crimes. Prisons are most commonly used within a criminal justice system: people charged with crimes may be imprisoned until their trial; those pleading or being found guilty of crimes at trial may be sentenced to a specified period of imprisonment. In simplest terms, a prison can also be described as a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed. Prisons can also be used as a tool of political repression by authoritarian regimes. Their perceived opponents may be imprisoned for political crimes, often without trial or other legal due process; this use is illegal under most forms of international law governing fair administration of justice. In times of war, prisoners of war or detainees may be detained in military prisons or prisoner of war camps, and large groups of civilians might be imprisoned in internment camps. In American English, the terms prison and jail have separate definitions, though this is not always strictly adhered to in casual speech. A prison or penitentiary holds people for longer periods of time, such as many years, and is operated by a state or federal government. A jail holds people for shorter periods of time (e.g. for shorter sentences or pre-trial detention) and is usually operated by a local government, typically the county sheriff. Outside of North America, prison and jail often have the same meaning.


  1. prison

    A prison is a secure and confined place or institution where individuals who have been convicted of crimes are detained as part of their punishment. This penal institution is typically operated by the government and includes a regime to rehabilitate inmates, maintain discipline, and ensure public safety. Prisons can also refer to any place of confinement or involuntary restraint.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Prisonnoun

    a place where persons are confined, or restrained of personal liberty; hence, a place or state o/ confinement, restraint, or safe custody

  2. Prisonnoun

    specifically, a building for the safe custody or confinement of criminals and others committed by lawful authority

  3. Prisonverb

    to imprison; to shut up in, or as in, a prison; to confine; to restrain from liberty

  4. Prisonverb

    to bind (together); to enchain

  5. Etymology: [F., fr. L. prehensio, prensio, a seizing, arresting, fr. prehendre, prendere, to lay hold of, to seize. See Prehensile, and cf. Prize, n., Misprision.]


  1. Prison

    A prison, also known as gaol or jail, is a place in which people are physically confined and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime. Other terms used are penitentiary, correctional facility, remand centre, detention centre, and gaol or jail. In some legal systems some of these terms have distinct meanings. A criminal suspect who has been charged with or is likely to be charged with criminal offense or Offence may be held on remand in prison if he or she is denied or unable to meet conditions of bail, or is unable or unwilling to post bail. A criminal defendant may also be held in prison while awaiting trial or a trial verdict. If found guilty, a defendant will be convicted and may receive a custodial sentence requiring imprisonment. As well as convicted or suspected criminals, prisons may be used for internment of those not charged with a crime. Prisons may also be used as a tool of political repression to detain political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, and "enemies of the state", particularly by authoritarian regimes. In times of war or conflict, prisoners of war may also be detained in prisons. A prison system is the organizational arrangement of the provision and operation of prisons.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prison

    priz′n, n. a building for the confinement of criminals, &c.: a jail: any place of confinement.—v.t. to shut in prison, restrain.—n.pl. Pris′on-bars, whatever confines or restrains.—ns. Pris′oner, one arrested or confined in prison: a captive; Pris′oner's-, Pris′on-base, a game among boys, in which those who are caught in a certain way are confined as prisoners—a corr. of prison-bars; Pris′on-fē′ver, typhus-fever; Pris′on-house, place of confinement; Pris′onment (Shak.), confinement in a prison—usually imprisonment; Pris′on-ship; Pris′on-van, a closed conveyance for carrying prisoners.—State prisoner, one confined for a political offence in a state prison. [Fr.,—L. prensio, -onis, for prehensio, a seizing—prehendĕre, -hensum, to seize.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. prison

    1. A place where any lady may have a baby without fearing society. 2. An institution where even crooks go wrong. 3. The House of a Thousand Tears. 4. The last resort of the obscure to achieve fame. 5. A banker's mess-hall. 6. A place where men go to take the vow of chastity, poverty and obedience. 7. An example of a Socialist's Paradise, where equality prevails, everything is supplied, and competition is eliminated.

Suggested Resources

  1. prison

    The prison symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the prison symbol and its characteristic.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prison' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1611

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prison' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2483

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prison' in Nouns Frequency: #638

Anagrams for prison »

  1. porins

  2. prions

  3. spinor

How to pronounce prison?

How to say prison in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prison in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prison in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of prison in a Sentence

  1. Shehu Sani:

    "There is a greater prison than Kuje; it is the conscience of men. A President who was sponsored with stolen money by a thief, is in a greater prison with the thief. And it shall manifest soon". - Sen Shehu Sanni (APC Kaduna State).

  2. Photographer Valerio Bispuri:

    Prison mirrors the realities of (the) outside world, everything that takes place in a prison reflects what is happening in that very country. Each prison said a lot about what nation they were in.

  3. Harry S Truman:

    The White House is the finest prison in the world.

  4. Victor Hugo:

    He who opens a school door, closes a prison.

  5. Diman Bayeez:

    I was very poor. I have schizophrenia and was just diagnosed with blood cancer, and my only daughter wasn't treating me well. I was borrowing money from people for the treatment. That was in June 2014, and she described her situation to a cab driver named Mahmoud in her home city of Kirkuk. He was ISIS and said if I joined, they would treat me well and pay me, she says. I said I would join on one condition : That they make me a suicide bomber and put me out of my misery. Mahmoud was killed fighting in Hawija, and two ISIS members found her number in his phone. She – along with her now ex-husband – were recruited. K.S. says she did not receive any formal training as a combatant, and did not pledge allegiance to ISIS, but admits that she allowed two militants to stay at her home – she now suspects that one was a spy for the Kurdish security forces. But when she was scheduled to put on the suicide vest, she got cold feet. She fled with the idea of seeking asylum in Europe, but the Kurds picked her up before she could leave. I told them I did all these bad things I didn't do because I wanted to be executed. I still wanted to die, K.S. says, saying that she attempted to kill herself in jail, too, with a kitchen knife. Now Iam thankful to God. I know I have committed no crime. Kurdish authorities beg to differ. According to the deputy manager of the correctional center, Zhino Azad, K.S. was deeply entrenched in ISIS, coordinating for their agents and being a guard at their female prisons – possibly filled with captured Yazidi sex slaves. Even her daughter, a lawyer, is terrified of her, Zhino Azad tells FoxNews.com. She is … a little psychotic. That's the type of people ISIS takes advantage of. K.S. does n’t mind prison at all. It is like heaven in this jail, she says. Here, she is safe from ISIS, is fed and receives medical treatment. I get to read the Koran all day and sleep, K.S. says with a bright smile. And I interpret dreams for the other women. A.H., a 35-year-old mother with a small tribal tattoo on the tip of her nose, also spoke to FoxNews.com. She was issued a life sentence, which was reduced to 20 years, then 15, because she has young children -- six of them who are between 5 and 16 years old. They are being looked after by the second of her husband's four wives. He is in jail now too, she says. At first, A.H. maintains that she was working at a civilian hospital that was controlled by ISIS, but that she never treated wounded fighters, but it does n’t take long for her to let her guard down, especially after the prison official with us begins wandering in and out of the room. I went to ISIS Diman Bayeez and said I would do anything, clean hospitals, if they gave me a salary – $ 260 a month, she says. So I was setting up IVs and injections for the fighters. While she admits to having sworn allegiance to the Caliphate, A.H. also claims she was a spy for Iraqi intelligence, and, fearful that ISIS members would find out, she fled to Kurdistan in early 2016. We have problems, especially with the new prisoners, radicalizing others, so we try to keep the terrorists separate. - Diman Bayeez, manager of the Women and Childrens Prison of Erbil She says all evidence of her spying was taken from her at an Iraqi Army checkpoint. Of course I regret [ helping ISIS ]. But my family was hungry. My husband was old, she pleads. I feel betrayed. They took my phone, my proof I was helping them. They all say they aren't guilty.

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Translations for prison

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    (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgment
    • A. arbitrary
    • B. adscripted
    • C. soft-witted
    • D. eminent

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