A prison is a place where criminals and people waiting for trials are locked up. If you’ve been cooped up in the house, you might feel like you’re stuck inside prison walls. But if you’re not, go outside already.

A person who's been sentenced to time in prison is called a prisoner. Prisons vary, but usually prisoners are confined to a small cell, with time spent in large groups for eating, working, and exercise. If you feel like you're stuck in a place or a situation, you might call that prison: "I can't wait to go home — this summer camp is like a prison!" The Latin root is prension, "laying hold of."

Definitions of prison

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

prison house
a former prison in London notorious for its unsanitary conditions and burnt down in riots in 1780; a new prison was built on the same spot but was torn down in 1902
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a jail or prison (especially one that is run in a tyrannical manner)
chokey, choky
British slang (dated) for a prison
(British slang) a prison
a circular prison with cells distributed around a central surveillance station; proposed by Jeremy Bentham in 1791
state prison
a prison maintained by a state of the U.S.
Type of:
correctional institution
a penal institution maintained by the government

n a prisonlike situation; a place of seeming confinement

prison house
Type of:
situation, state of affairs
the general state of things; the combination of circumstances at a given time

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