Results for: penitentiary
|pen·i·ten·tia·ry (pn-tnsh-r)|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 pnitentiria
, feminine of pnitentirius
, from Latin paenitentia
, from paenitns
; see penitent
penitentiary /pntnri/ n. -ries a state or federal prison: The thief was sent to the state penitentiary.