I. noun (plural -ries) Etymology: Middle English penitenciary, from Medieval Latin poenitentiarius, from poenitentia Date: 15th century 1. a. an officer in some Roman Catholic dioceses vested with power from the bishop to deal with cases of a nature normally handled only by the bishop b. capitalized a cardinal presiding over a tribunal of the Roman curia concerned with dispensations and indulgences 2. a public institution in which offenders against the law are confined for detention or punishment; specifically a state or federal prison in the United States II. adjective Date: 1577 1. penitential 2. of, relating to, or incurring confinement in a penitentiary

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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 — 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”