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sentence Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a string of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language
    • he always spoke in grammatical sentences
  2. noun (criminal law) a final judgment of guilty in a criminal case and the punishment that is imposed
    condemnation; judgment of conviction; conviction.
    • the conviction came as no surprise
  3. noun the period of time a prisoner is imprisoned
    prison term; time.
    • he served a prison term of 15 months
    • his sentence was 5 to 10 years
    • he is doing time in the county jail
  4. verb pronounce a sentence on (somebody) in a court of law
    doom; condemn.
    • He was condemned to ten years in prison

Sen"tence noun
F., from L. sententia, for sentientia, from sentire to discern by the senses and the mind, to feel, to think. See Sense, n., and cf. Sentiensi.
  1. Sense; meaning; significance. Obs.
    Tales of best sentence and most solace. Chaucer.
    The discourse itself, voluble enough, and full of sentence. Milton.
  2. (a) An opinion; a decision; a determination; a judgment, especially one of an unfavorable nature.
    My sentence is for open war. Milton.
    That by them [Luther's works] we may pass sentence upon his doctrines. Atterbury.
    (b) A philosophical or theological opinion; a dogma; as, Summary of the Sentences; Book of the Sentences.
  3. (Law) In civil and admiralty law, the judgment of a court pronounced in a cause; in criminal and ecclesiastical courts, a judgment passed on a criminal by a court or judge; condemnation pronounced by a judgical tribunal; doom. In common law, the term is exclusively used to denote the judgment in criminal cases.
    Received the sentence of the law. Shak.
  4. A short saying, usually containing moral instruction; a maxim; an axiom; a saw. Broome.
  5. (Gram.) A combination of words which is complete as expressing a thought, and in writing is marked at the close by a period, or full point. See Proposition, 4. Sentences are simple or compound. A simple sentence consists of one subject and one finite verb; as, "The Lord reigns." A compound sentence contains two or more subjects and finite verbs, as in this verse: -
    He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. Pope.
    A king . . . understanding dark sentences. Dan. vii. 23.
Sen"tence transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Sentenced ; present participle & verbal noun Sentencing
  1. To pass or pronounce judgment upon; to doom; to condemn to punishment; to prescribe the punishment of.
    Nature herself is sentenced in your doom. Dryden.
  2. To decree or announce as a sentence. Obs. Shak.
  3. To utter sentenciously. Obs. Feltham.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

Writing Improvement Software
Writing Improvement Software