Difference Between Jail and Gaol

Jail and Gaol refer to the place where criminals are locked up. Both Jail and Gaol have the same meaning, but they differ in their usage and origin. Jail is predominantly used across the world. Gaol is the oldest version of Jail in its usage. Gaol is used during 18th century.


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Jail vs Gaol

Jail is the more commonly used term in American English, and it is a place of detention where people are held while awaiting trial or serving a sentence for a crime. Gaol is an older spelling of the same word, and it is still used in some English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Jail vs Gaol

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Jail is a noun that means to keep people who commit unlawful crimes. It is also used as a verb that means to incarcerate a person. In Jails, criminals serve for less than a year which is a shorter period when compared to prisons where they serve for a longer period.

Gaol was used during the 17th to 18th century where there was a domination of Anglo-Norman French. Gaol is the same as jail, but they differ in their pronunciation and spelling. Gaol is used in Australia and British during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is pronounced with a hard g-sound.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonJailGaol
MeaningJail refers to the place where criminals are kept for less than a month. Gaol is the same Jail where people who commit crimes are kept.
UsageJail is used even today across the world. It is a replacement for the word Gaol. It is a Latin word. Gaol is a rarely used word for jail. It is the Latin word ‘Gavolia’.
OriginJail is widely used in the US and India. It is used interchangeably with Prison which differs in the period of stay. Gaol is used in Australia and UK. But it was used actively during the 17th century. It has become outdated spelling in the 21st century.
SpellingJail is considered to be a modern spelling.Gaol is an outdated spelling in this new era.
Noun and VerbJail is used as both noun and verb. In a noun sense, it is used to indicate the names of the jails. Whereas in the verb sense it is used to indicate incarceration of a person. Gaol is used as a noun to indicate the names of various Gaols across the world. But it is rarely used.

What is Jail?

Jail has originated from the Latin word meaning cage. It is commonly used to indicate a place where people are locked up for committing crimes that are meant to be unlawful. Jail is also the same as prison and gaol. They differ in their spelling, pronunciation, and usage.

Jail are local facilities for housing criminals available in a state, district, and across the country. They are kept for less than a year before they are sentenced to release or declaration of life imprisonment. If they are waiting for their sentence of awaiting their trial they would be kept in Jail and then shifted to prison.

Jail is a word that can be used as a noun as well as a verb. In the noun sense, it is used in the places of names where they are preceded by their place of the locality. Whereas in the verb sense it indicates the procedure of keeping a person away from their freedoms and comfortables.

A person would be kept in Jail considering a series of procedures, which also includes their mental and physical health perspectives. They are kept away from their freedoms and necessities, including basic needs like food, water, and shelter.


What is Gaol?

Gaol is considered to be the oldest and outdated spelling, which has been replaced by words like Jail and Prison, which have the same meaning as Gaol. Gaol is included in British English in the 17th century. It is an outdated spelling because of its pronunciation and was replaced by Jail.

Gaol is used as a noun, it is used in places that indicated the locality of the Gaol. Gaol is originated from the Latin word “Gavolia” which means cage. As it is similar to Jail in its meaning it has been replaced by the word Jail. The gaol has difficulty in its pronunciation which has a hard g-sound.

Gaol is used in the articles in the present day when it is written for a targetted audience of the 17th and 18th centuries. Gaol is a place where criminals are sentenced for their lifetime or for a particular duration which is usually less than a year.

It also provides the basic needs of a person while they are served for their crimes done.

The gaol has no longer in use as it is the outdated and the oldest version of Jail. It has the same meaning but differs in its origin, as Gaol is used in the UK and rarely used in other countries. Gaol is included in the British English stream but has been removed or outdated now.


Main Differences Between Jail and Gaol

  1. Jail is a modern term and it is used commonly across the world, whereas Gaol is an outdated term that is seldom used by people.
  2. Jail is used by people all over the world and it is originated in British and UK. Whereas Gaol is rarely used and it is originated in the US.
  3. Jail is used as a noun as well as a verb addressing the name of the prison when it is used as a noun and incarceration of a person when it is used as a verb. Whereas Gaol is used as a noun only.
  4. Jail is interchangeably used in place of prison, whereas Gaol is replaced with Jail and Prison as it has a hard g-sound making it difficult in its pronunciation.
  5. Jail indicates a place where prisoners are kept for their crimes, Gaol also indicated the same which differs in their duration of stay in Jail and Gaol.
Difference Between Jail and Gaol
  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/anzjc10&section=35
  2. https://elib.bsu.by/bitstream/123456789/21237/1/%D0%A2%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0.docx
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