Penitentiary Pen`i*ten"tia*ry, n.; pl. {Penitentiaries}. [Cf. F. p['e]nitencier. See {Penitent}.] 1. One who prescribes the rules and measures of penance. [Obs.] --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

2. One who does penance. [Obs.] --Hammond. [1913 Webster]

3. A small building in a monastery where penitents confessed. --Shpiley. [1913 Webster]

4. That part of a church to which penitents were admitted. --Shipley. [1913 Webster]

5. (R. C. Ch.) (a) An office of the papal court which examines cases of conscience, confession, absolution from vows, etc., and delivers decisions, dispensations, etc. Its chief is a cardinal, called the Grand Penitentiary, appointed by the pope. (b) An officer in some dioceses since A. D. 1215, vested with power from the bishop to absolve in cases reserved to him. [1913 Webster]

6. A house of correction, in which offenders are confined for punishment, discipline, and reformation, and in which they are generally compelled to labor. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • penitentiary — pen·i·ten·tia·ry /ˌpe nə ten chə rē/ n pl ries: a state or federal prison for the punishment and reformation of convicted felons compare house of correction, house of detention, jail …   Law dictionary

  • Penitentiary — Pen i*ten tia*ry, a. [Cf. F. p[ e]nitentiaire.] 1. Relating to penance, or to the rules and measures of penance. A penitentiary tax. Abp. Bramhall. [1913 Webster] 2. Expressive of penitence; as, a penitentiary letter. [1913 Webster] 3. Used for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • penitentiary — [pen΄i ten′shə rē] adj. [ML penitentiarius, poenitentiarius (form and meaning infl. by assoc. with L poena: see PENAL) < L paenitentia < paenitens,PENITENT] 1. of or for penance 2. used in punishing, disciplining, and reforming 3. making… …   English World dictionary

  • Penitentiary — may refer to: * Apostolic Penitentiary, a tribunal of mercy, responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Roman Catholic Church * Prison or penitentiary, a correctional facility …   Wikipedia

  • Penitentiary — (engl., spr. ténnschĕri), Bußanstalt, Gefängnis …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • penitentiary — early 15c., place of punishment for offenses against the church, from M.L. penitentiaria, from fem. of penitentiarius (adj.) of penance, from L. paenitentia penitence (see PENITENCE (Cf. penitence)). Meaning house of correction first found 1806… …   Etymology dictionary

  • penitentiary — [n] jail big house*, campus, can*, college, cooler*, correctional institution, inside*, joint*, lockup*, pen*, penal institution, prison, reformatory, slammer*, stockade; concepts 439,449,516 …   New thesaurus

  • penitentiary — ► NOUN (pl. penitentiaries) 1) (in North America) a prison for people convicted of serious crimes. 2) (in the Roman Catholic Church) a priest appointed to administer penance …   English terms dictionary

  • penitentiary — UK [ˌpenɪˈtenʃərɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms penitentiary : singular penitentiary plural penitentiaries a prison for people who have committed serious crimes a state/federal penitentiary …   English dictionary

  • penitentiary — /pen i ten sheuh ree/, n., pl. penitentiaries, adj. n. 1. a place for imprisonment, reformatory discipline, or punishment, esp. a prison maintained in the U.S. by a state or the federal government for serious offenders. 2. Rom. Cath. Ch. a… …   Universalium

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