A sentence can be a group of words that communicate a complete thought, or it can be the punishment in a criminal case. Did your pen pal in prison write a sentence or two about the length of his sentence?

Actually, both meanings of sentence — words and punishment — are linked, coming from the Latin sententia, meaning “thought or judgment,” derived from the verb sentire, “to feel or perceive.” If you put some words before a period, you should give some thought to your sentence. If you receive a lengthy prison sentence, you will certainly feel it.

Definitions of sentence
  1. noun

    a string of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language

    “he always spoke in grammatical
    see moresee less


    show 12 types…
    hide 12 types…
    simple sentence

    a sentence having no coordinate clauses or subordinate clauses
    complex sentence

    a sentence composed of at least one main clause and one subordinate clause
    compound sentence

    a sentence composed of at least two coordinate independent clauses
    declarative sentence, declaratory sentence

    a sentence (in the indicative mood) that makes a declaration
    run-on sentence

    an ungrammatical sentence in which two or more independent clauses are conjoined without a conjunction
    topic sentence

    a sentence that states the topic of its paragraph
    interrogation, interrogative, interrogative sentence, question

    a sentence of inquiry that asks for a reply
    loose sentence

    a complex sentence in which the main clause comes first and the subordinate clause follows
    periodic sentence

    a complex sentence in which the main clause comes last and is preceded by the subordinate clause

    a question asked in cross-examination
    leading question

    a question phrased in such a way as to suggest the desired answer; a lawyer may ask leading questions on cross-examination
    yes-no question

    a question that can be answered by yes or no
    type of:

    linguistic string, string of words, word string

    a linear sequence of words as spoken or written

  2. noun

    (criminal law) a final judgment of guilty in a criminal case and the punishment that is imposed

    condemnation, conviction, judgment of conviction
    see moresee less



    a judgment of not guilty

    murder conviction

    conviction for murder
    rape conviction

    conviction for rape
    robbery conviction

    conviction for robbery
    type of:

    final decision, final judgment

    a judgment disposing of the case before the court; after the judgment (or an appeal from it) is rendered all that remains is to enforce the judgment

  3. noun

    the period of time a prisoner is imprisoned

    sentence was 5 to 10 years”
    prison term, time
    see moresee less


    hard time

    a term served in a maximum security prison
    life, life sentence

    a prison term lasting as long as the prisoner lives
    type of:


    a limited period of time

  4. verb

    pronounce a sentence on (somebody) in a court of law

    condemn, doom
    see moresee less



    doom beforehand

    abandon to eternal damnation
    type of:


    state emphatically and authoritatively

Word Family