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Pronunciation:  `peni'tenshuree

WordNet Dictionary
  1. [n]  a correctional institution for those convicted of major crimes
  2. [adj]  used for punishment or reform of criminals or wrongdoers; "penitentiary institutions"

PENITENTIARY is a 12 letter word that starts with P.


 Synonyms: pen, punitive, punitory
 See Also: correctional institution



Webster's 1913 Dictionary
  1. \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.
    2. Expressive of penitence; as, a penitentiary letter.
    3. Used for punishment, discipline, and reformation.
       ``Penitentiary houses.'' --Blackstone.
  2. \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.
    2. One who does penance. [Obs.] --Hammond.
    3. A small building in a monastery where penitents confessed.
    4. That part of a church to which penitents were admitted.
    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.
    6. A house of correction, in which offenders are confined for
       punishment, discipline, and reformation, and in which they
       are generally compelled to labor.
Thesaurus Terms
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