penitentiary(redirected from penitentiaries)
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n. pl. pen·i·ten·tia·ries
1. A prison for those convicted of major crimes.
2. Roman Catholic Church
a. A tribunal of the Roman Curia having jurisdiction in matters relating to penance, dispensations, and papal absolutions.
b. A priest whose special function is the administration of the sacrament of penance in a particular church or diocese.
1. Of or for the purpose of penance; penitential.
2. Relating to or used for punishment or reform of criminals or wrongdoers.
3. Resulting in or punishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary: a penitentiary offense.
[Middle English penitenciarie, penance officer, episcopal prison, from Medieval Latin pēnitentiāria, feminine of pēnitentiārius, from Latin paenitentia, penitence, from paenitēns, penitent; see penitent.]
n, pl -ries
1. (Law) (in the US and Canada) a state or federal prison: in Canada, esp a federal prison for offenders convicted of serious crimes. Sometimes shortened to: pen
2. (Roman Catholic Church) RC Church
a. a cleric appointed to supervise the administration of the sacrament of penance in a particular area
b. a priest who has special faculties to absolve particularly grave sins
c. a cardinal who presides over a tribunal that decides all matters affecting the sacrament of penance
d. this tribunal itself
3. another word for penitential1
4. (Law) US and Canadian (of an offence) punishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary
[C15 (meaning also: an officer dealing with penances): from Medieval Latin poenitēntiārius, from Latin paenitēns penitent]
pen•i•ten•tia•ry(ˌpɛn ɪˈtɛn ʃə ri)
n., pl. -ries,
1. a place for imprisonment, reformatory discipline, or punishment, esp., in the U.S., a state or federal institution for serious offenders.
2. a tribunal in the Curia Romana, presided over by a cardinal having jurisdiction over certain matters, as penance, confession, or dispensation.adj.
3. (of an offense) punishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary.
4. of, pertaining to, or intended for imprisonment, reformatory discipline, or punishment.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||penitentiary - a correctional institution for those convicted of major crimes|
correctional institution - a penal institution maintained by the government
|Adj.||1.||penitentiary - used for punishment or reform of criminals or wrongdoers; "penitentiary institutions"|
|2.||penitentiary - showing or constituting penance; "penitential tears"; "wrote a penitential letter apologizing for her hasty words"|