- A state or federal prison for convicted felons.
- (Roman Catholic Church) A priest who administers the sacrament of penance.
Etymology: From Medieval Latin (penitentiaria), term used by the Quakers in Pennsylvania during the 1790s, describing a place for penitents sorry for their sins.
- of, or related to penance; penitential
- of, or relating to the punishment of criminals
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Full Definition of penitentiary