(redirected from jails)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to jails: Alcatraz

bail (one) out of jail

To pay for one's release from jail. I have to go bail my brother out of jail again. I wonder what he did this time.
See also: bail, jail, of, out

clap (one) in jail

To put one in jail, often abruptly. You can't just clap someone in jail! What are the charges here?
See also: clap, jail

get out of jail

To narrowly avoid problems, defeat, or failure, often in sports. Primarily heard in UK. I doubt we'll get out of jail with the way their offense is overwhelming us.
See also: get, jail, of, out

get out of jail free card

1. Something that will immediately resolve or relieve an undesirable situation, especially that which results in no or minimal consequences. A reference to the board game Monopoly, in which this card allows players to leave the jail space without missing a turn. (Sometimes hyphenated as "get-out-of-jail-free.") I'm afraid there's no get out of jail free card when it comes to your taxes—you either pay them, or you pay the fine. Jonathan used his father's position in politics as a get-out-of-jail-free card to help get his drunk driving charge dismissed.
2. Something that allows or is used as an excuse for poor decisions, results, standards, behavior, etc. Sometimes hyphenated. Just because a book is part of a highly regarded series doesn't mean it has some get out of jail free card allowing it to be formulaic and poorly written.
See also: card, free, get, jail, of, out


Someone who is attractive but younger than the legal age of consent. I'd stay away from jailbait like her unless you want to spend your future days in a cell!


To remove restrictions from an electronic device, typically a cell phone, so that one can use unauthorized software on it. I need someone to jailbreak my phone so that I can configure it the way I want.


Capable of using unauthorized software due to having had restrictions removed, as of a cell phone or other electronic device. I need to get a jailbroken phone so that I can configure it the way I want.

tail 'em, nail 'em, and jail 'em

The strategy of following someone who is on probation or parole with the strict, likely prejudicial intent of arresting them immediately when they do anything that would breach the terms of their probation or parole. The sheriff's office has a strict policy of tail 'em, nail 'em, and jail 'em in this county, so if you don't want to go back to prison, then you had best walk the straight and narrow for the entirety of your parole. Studies are increasingly showing that "tail 'em, nail 'em, and jail 'em" policies don't reduce crime, they just keep our prisons overflowing with inmates.
See also: and, jail, nail, tail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

bail someone out of jail

 and bail someone out 
1. Lit. to deposit a sum of money that allows someone to get out of jail while waiting for a trial. John was in jail. I had to go down to the police station to bail him out. I need some cash to bail out a friend!
2. Fig. to help someone who is having difficulties. When my brother went broke, I had to bail him out with a loan.
See also: bail, jail, of, out
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

get out of jail

COMMON If you get out of jail, especially in a sports match, you only just succeed in avoiding defeat or a difficult situation. Mills accepted his side had been lucky: `I've never seen Josh Smith miss so many kicks at goal, so you could say we got out of jail.' Note: You can also say that someone plays or has a get-out-of-jail card or a get-out-of-jail-free card. They were not having their greatest game but they played the get-out-of-jail card. Note: This expression comes from the game `Monopoly', where players can use a special card in order to leave jail early.
See also: get, jail, of, out
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

clap someone in jail (or irons)

put someone in prison (or in chains).
The meaning of clap in these idioms is somewhat removed from the original one of ‘make a sudden explosive sound’. Over time the word developed the additional sense of ‘make a sudden action’, without necessarily implying any sound.
See also: clap, jail, someone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


and nailer
n. the police in general; a police officer. Old nail-em-and-jail-em is going to be knocking at your door any day now. Victor mooned a nailer and almost got nailed.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Two months remission in the sentences of 292 prisoners of Central Jail Lahore, 177 prisoners of Central Jail Gujranwala, 54 prisoners of District Jail Kasur, 103 prisoners of District Jail Lahore, 121 prisoners of District Jail Sheikhupura, 169 prisoners of District Jail Sialkot and 40 prisoners of District Jail Narowal has been made.
Yasir Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar, who went to the highly fortified Central Jail to meet his brother and a cousin lodged in the jail in a fake case told media, 'The moment he sought permission from the cops guarding the jail, he was surprised to know that his brother, who was in custody for nearly a year, was among many prisoners shifted to other jails in the territory.'
According to BJMP, Iral had visited Valenzuela City Jail Male and Female Dormitories, Navotas City Jail, Caloocan City Jail Male and Female Dormitories, Manila City Jail Male and Female Dormitories, Quezon City Jail Male Dormitory, and the jails located within the Bicutan Complex.
But maladministration at federal and provincial levels has turned jails into institutes of higher criminal learning rather than schools for rehabilitation.
The BJMP chief noted the most congested jails in Metro Manila were the Manila City Jail and Quezon City Jail, with 5,731 and 5,296 inmates, respectively.
KASUR -- Punjab minister for Prisons, Zawar Hussain Waraich said required funds for ongoing development projects in Punjab jails would be released in next fiscal year.
ISLAMABAD -- Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz on Tuesday expressed annoyance over slow progress in the implementation of jail reforms in Punjab and for not allowing the members of district oversight committees (DOCs) to visit jails.
The new demand for Manila ropes by Allahabad jail comes shortly after 18 such ropes were sought by various jails across India such as Haridwar jail (Uttarakhand), Naini Central Prison (Uttar Pradesh), Tihar Jail (Delhi) and Ambala Central Jail (Haryana).
Jails: An ACA Reader, American Correctional Association, Alexandria, Va., 2011, 233 pp.
While county jails answer to the commission and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is responsible for state prisons, city jails are accountable to no higher authority.
The study of small or rural jails is challenged by two distinct biases.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails, which describes historical trends in state prison and local jail inmate mortality rates based on inmate death records submitted by local jails (for 2000-2002) and state prisons (for 2001-2002).
When I learned that the male inmates at Abu Ghraib were forced to wear women's underwear, I thought of the Maricopa County jails in Phoenix, Arizona.
Department of Corrections officials who had entered into a consent decree governing conditions for pretrial detainees in New York City jails moved for the immediate termination of those decrees under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).