sentence Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “sentence” in the English Dictionary

"sentence" in British English

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sentencenoun [C]

uk   us   /ˈsen.təns/
  • sentence noun [C] (WORD GROUP)

A1 a ​group of words, usually ​containing a ​verb, that ​expresses a ​thought in the ​form of a ​statement, ​question, ​instruction, or exclamation and ​starts with a ​capitalletter when written: He's very ​impatient and always ​interrupts me mid-sentence. Your ​conclusion is good, but the ​final sentence is too ​long and ​complicated.

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  • sentence noun [C] (PUNISHMENT)

B2 a ​punishment given by a ​judge in ​court to a ​person or ​organization after they have been ​foundguilty of doing something ​wrong: He got a heavy/​light sentence (= he was ​severely/not ​severelypunished). The ​offence carries a jail/​prison/​life/five-year sentence. He was given a non-custodial/​suspended sentence.pronounce sentence (of a ​judge) to say ​officially what a ​punishment will be: The ​judge will ​pronounce sentence on the ​defendant this ​afternoon.

sentenceverb [T]

uk   us   /ˈsen.təns/ specialized
B2 to ​decide and say ​officially what a ​punishment will be: He was sentenced tolifeimprisonment.

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(Definition of sentence from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sentence" in American English

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sentencenoun [C]

 us   /ˈsen·təns/
  • sentence noun [C] (GRAMMAR)

grammar a ​group of words, usually ​containing a ​subject and a ​verb, ​expressing a ​statement, ​question, ​instruction, or ​exclamation, and, when written, ​starting with a ​capitalletter and ​ending with a ​period or other ​mark: Your sentences are too ​long and ​complicated.
  • sentence noun [C] (PUNISHMENT)

a ​punishment given by a ​lawcourt to a ​person or ​organization that is ​guilty of a ​crime: She ​served a three-year ​prison sentence.

sentenceverb [T]

 us   /ˈsent·əns/
to ​officiallystate the ​punishment given by a ​lawcourt to a ​guiltyperson or ​organization: He was sentenced to three ​years in ​jail and fined $40,000.
(Definition of sentence from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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