A penal institution that is intended for long-term confinement of convicted criminals. See also jail.
Other Word Forms of Penitentiary
Origin of Penitentiary
Middle English penitenciarie penance officer, episcopal prison from Medieval Latin pēnitentiāria feminine of pēnitentiārius from Latin paenitentia penitence from paenitēns penitent penitent
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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