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Jail (j&ā;l), n. [OE. jaile, gail, gayhol, OF. gaole, gaiole, jaiole, F. ge&ô;le, 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 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, or 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.
Jail, v. t. To imprison. [R.] T. Adams (1614).
[Bolts] that jail you from free life. Tennyson.