Alcatraz at sunset, San Francisco, USA
Alcatraz, an island in San Francisco Bay where convicted murderers and criminals were kept in cells, was an example of a prison.
- a place where persons are confined
- a building, usually with cells, where convicted criminals, esp. those serving longer sentences, are confined
- such a place for holding accused persons who are awaiting, or on, trial
- the state or condition of being confined, restricted, or limited in any way: in the prison of his own desires
Origin of prisonOld French from Classical Latin from prensio, for prehensio, a taking from prehendere, to take: see prehensile
- A place for the confinement and punishment of persons convicted of crimes, especially felonies.
- A state of imprisonment or captivity: years spent in prison.
- A place or condition of confinement or restriction: felt his job had been a prison.
transitive verbpris·oned, pris·on·ing, pris·ons
Origin of prisonMiddle English from Old French alteration ( influenced by Old French pris taken ) of Latin prēnsiō prēnsiōn- a seizing from prehēnsiō from prehēnsus past participle of prehendere to seize ; see ghend- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural prisons)
- 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.
- (uncountable) Confinement in prison.
- Prison was a harrowing experience for him.
- (colloquial) 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.
(third-person singular simple present prisons, present participle prisoning, simple past and past participle prisoned)
- To imprison.
From Old French prison, from Latin prehensiÅnem, accusative singular of prehensiÅ, from the verb prehendÅ.