Definition for PEN-I-TEN'TIA-RY


  1. One that prescribes the rules and measures of penance. – Bacon. Ayliffe.
  2. A penitent; one that does penance. – Hammond.
  3. At the court of Rome, an office in which are examined and delivered out the secret bulls, graces or dispensations relating to cases of conscience, confession, &c. – Encyc.
  4. An officer in some cathedrals, vested with power from the bishop to absolve in cases reserved to him. The pope has a grand penitentiary, who is a cardinal and is chief of the other penitentiaries. – Encyc.
  5. A house of correction in which offenders are confined for punishment and reformation, and compelled to labor; a work-house. A state prison is a penitentiary.

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