English Online Dictionary. What means jail? What does jail mean?
- gaol (British, Australia, Ireland, dated)
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.
- IPA(key): /d͡ʒeɪ(ə)l/
- Rhymes: -eɪl
jail (countable and uncountable, plural jails)
- 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
- Coordinate terms: big house, prison
- Hypernyms: correctional facility, correctional institution
- (uncountable) Confinement in a jail.
- (horse racing) 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).
- In dodgeball and related games, the area where players who have been struck by the ball are confined.
- (computing, FreeBSD) A kind of sandbox for running a guest operating system instance.
- (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 Monopoly popularised the spelling jail in the UK and Australia, gaol was the standard spelling in these countries.
- In the United States, there is a formal distinction between the terms jail and prison – the former refers to facilities run by local governments, the later refers to facilities run by the state and federal governments; however, this distinction is not always observed in informal usage. By contrast, in most of the rest of the English-speaking world, the two terms are synonymous.
- → Hindustani:
- Hindi: जेल (jel)
- Urdu: جیل (jel)
- → Punjabi: ਜੇਲ੍ਹ (jelh)
- → Welsh: jêl, jael
jail (third-person singular simple present jails, present participle jailing, simple past and past participle jailed)
- To imprison.