Jail vs Gaol

Type your word here
Try:

What’s the difference between them?

Jail

Meaning:

Jail: a place of confinement for people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and are serving a sentence.

Examples:

1. He was sentenced to two years in jail for his crime.

2. The prison guard regularly checks the cells in the jail.

3. The inmate broke out of jail last night.

Gaol

Meaning:

(UK) Jail; a prison.

Examples:

1. He was sent to gaol for stealing a car.

2. The prisoner was released from gaol after 10 years.

3. The Gaol Warden made sure all the prisoners followed the rules.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Jail

1. Prison

2. Detention Center

3. Confinement

4. Penitentiary

5. Lock-Up

1. Freedom

2. Acquittal

3. Liberty

4. Release

5. Exoneration

Gaol

1. Prison

2. Jail

3. Confine

4. Imprison

5. Lock up

1. Liberate

2. Emancipate

3. Free

4. Unshackle

5. Release

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Jail", "Gaol".

1. To help remember that gaol is the British spelling of jail, think of the British-sounding word 'gaoler,' which is another name for a prison guard.

2. When in doubt, use the word jail in both American and British English, as it is a more widely accepted spelling.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

Learn the difference

Frequently asked questions

When should the word 'jail' be used?

Jail should be used to refer to a place of confinement for people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and are serving a sentence.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'gaol'?

Gaol should be used when referring to a prison in the United Kingdom.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

Yes, the two words share the same pronunciation.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

A common mistake people make when using these words is confusing jail and gaol as two different words with two different meanings. Jail should be used when referring to a place of confinement in the United States, while gaol should be used when referring to a prison in the United Kingdom.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1.In the United States, when someone is found guilty of a crime, they may be sent to ________ as part of their punishment.

2. In the UK, offenders who break the law often end up in ________ for their offenses.

3. She was arrested and put in ________ while waiting for her trial to begin.

4. The notorious criminal was sentenced to 20 years in ________ for his crimes.

5. After his conviction, he was taken to the local ________ to serve his time behind bars.

6. The police officer explained that breaking the law could lead to time in ________, and it was important to obey the rules.

1. In the United States, when someone is found guilty of a crime, they may be sent to jail as part of their punishment.

Explanation: In the United States, the correct spelling is jail.

2. In the UK, offenders who break the law often end up in gaol for their offenses.

Explanation: In the UK, the correct spelling is gaol, although jail is also accepted.

3. She was arrested and put in jail while waiting for her trial to begin.

Explanation: In this sentence, jail is the correct American spelling.

4. The notorious criminal was sentenced to 20 years in jail for his crimes.

Explanation: Both jail (American) and gaol (British) are acceptable here.

5. After his conviction, he was taken to the local jail to serve his time behind bars.

Explanation: Both jail (American) and gaol (British) can be used in this context.

6. The police officer explained that breaking the law could lead to time in jail, and it was important to obey the rules.

Explanation: Both jail (American) and gaol (British) are suitable in this sentence.

Get a gift by subscribing to our newsletter!

Download the PDF with a list of commonly confused words made as flashcards for comfortable learning.

List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.