Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

prison - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     prison pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. [countable/uncountable] an institution where people are kept as punishment for committing a crime. A large prison is called a penitentiary and the people who are kept there are called prisoners
    send someone to prison:

    He was sent to prison for armed robbery.

    go to prison:

    You can go to prison for that, you know.

    in prison:

    He’s currently in prison for tax fraud.

    1. b.
      [uncountable] the experience of being in prison

      Has prison changed him?

    2. c.
      [only before noun] involving prison, or relating to prison
      a prison term/sentence (=the period of time someone must stay in prison):

      She could face a ten-year prison term.

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play