A sentence can be a group of words that communicate a complete thought, or it can be the punishment in a criminal case. Did your pen pal in prison write a sentence or two about the length of his sentence?

Actually, both meanings of sentence — words and punishment — are linked, coming from the Latin sententia, meaning "thought or judgment," derived from the verb sentire, "to feel or perceive." If you put some words before a period, you should give some thought to your sentence. If you receive a lengthy prison sentence, you will certainly feel it.

Definitions of sentence
  1. noun
    a string of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language
    “he always spoke in grammatical sentences
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    simple sentence
    a sentence having no coordinate clauses or subordinate clauses
    complex sentence
    a sentence composed of at least one main clause and one subordinate clause
    compound sentence
    a sentence composed of at least two coordinate independent clauses
    declarative sentence, declaratory sentence
    a sentence (in the indicative mood) that makes a declaration
    run-on sentence
    an ungrammatical sentence in which two or more independent clauses are conjoined without a conjunction
    topic sentence
    a sentence that states the topic of its paragraph
    interrogation, interrogative, interrogative sentence, question
    a sentence of inquiry that asks for a reply
    sentence fragment
    an incomplete sentence with the punctuation and capitalization of a complete sentence
    an incomplete sentence with the punctuation and capitalization of a complete sentence
    comma splice
    the improper use of a comma (rather than a conjunction, colon, or semicolon) to join two independent clauses
    loose sentence
    a complex sentence in which the main clause comes first and the subordinate clause follows
    periodic sentence
    a complex sentence in which the main clause comes last and is preceded by the subordinate clause
    a question asked in cross-examination
    leading question
    a question phrased in such a way as to suggest the desired answer; a lawyer may ask leading questions on cross-examination
    yes-no question
    a question that can be answered by yes or no
    type of:
    linguistic string, string of words, word string
    a linear sequence of words as spoken or written
  2. noun
    (criminal law) a final judgment of guilty in a criminal case and the punishment that is imposed
    synonyms: condemnation, conviction, judgment of conviction
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    a judgment of not guilty
    murder conviction
    conviction for murder
    rape conviction
    conviction for rape
    robbery conviction
    conviction for robbery
    type of:
    final decision, final judgment
    a judgment disposing of the case before the court; after the judgment (or an appeal from it) is rendered all that remains is to enforce the judgment
  3. noun
    the period of time a prisoner is imprisoned
    “his sentence was 5 to 10 years”
    synonyms: prison term, time
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    hard time
    a term served in a maximum security prison
    life, life sentence
    a prison term lasting as long as the prisoner lives
    type of:
    a limited period of time
  4. verb
    pronounce a sentence on (somebody) in a court of law
    synonyms: condemn, doom
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    doom beforehand
    abandon to eternal damnation
    type of:
    state emphatically and authoritatively
Word Family

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