Jail (?), n. [OE. jaile, gail, gayhol, OF. gaole, gaiole, jaiole, F. geole, LL. gabiola, dim. of gabia cage, for L. cavea cavity, cage. See Cage.]

A kind of prison; a building for the confinement of persons held in lawful custody, especially for minor offenses or with reference to some future judicial proceeding.

[Written also gaol.]

This jail I count the house of liberty. Milton.

Jail bird, a prisoner; one who has been confined in prison. [Slang] -- Jail delivery, the release of prisoners from jail, either legally or by violence. -- Jail delivery commission. See under Gaol. -- Jail fever Med., typhus fever, or a disease resembling it, generated in jails and other places crowded with people; -- called also hospital fever, and ship fever. -- Jail liberties, ∨ Jail limits, a space or district around a jail within which an imprisoned debtor was, on certain conditions, allowed to go at large. Abbott. -- Jail lock, a peculiar form of padlock; -- called also Scandinavian lock.


© Webster 1913.

Jail, v. t.

To imprison.


T. Adams (1614).

[Bolts] that jail you from free life. Tennyson.


© Webster 1913.