Meaning of bridewell in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbrʌɪdw(ɛ)l/


  • A prison or reform school for petty offenders.

    ‘They were hauled off to the barracks, spent the night in the bridewell, and the next day were convicted.’
    • ‘In the 17th century, bridewells and reformatory institutions started to appear.’
    • ‘With the advent of bridewells, convicts begin to inhabit separate punitive institutions for the first time.’
    • ‘The new Board assumed responsibility for 38 local county prisons, 96 bridewells and four convict prisons.’
    • ‘In many gaols, and in most bridewells, there is no allowance of bedding or straw for prisoners to sleep on.’
    prison, penal institution, place of detention, lock-up, place of confinement, guardhouse, correctional facility, detention centre


Mid 16th century named after St Bride's Well in the City of London, near which such a building stood.