As language evolves, some words drop out of common usage or change with the language. This could result in spelling changes, usage changes, or replacement with an entirely new word. This is a frequent occurrence for all modern languages, English included. That is the case with the word gaol, which was common in earlier centuries, but is used only rarely today. It was eclipsed by jail, which is the same word spelled a different way.
The word jail originated from Middle English: based on Latin cavea (see cage). The word came into English in two forms, jaiole from Old French and gayole from Anglo-Norman French gaole (surviving in the spelling gaol ), originally pronounced with a hard g, as in goat.
Jail as noun:
Jail as verb:
Jail is also used as a verb which means to put (someone) in jail.
Use of Jail:
Use of gaol:
Jail or gaol:
Jail and gaol and two spelling variants of a word that can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it means a place to house criminals, and as a verb, it means to incarcerate someone. Jail is the modern spelling. Gaol is an outdated spelling that is rarely used. Both forms have been used over the past few centuries, but today, only jail is commonplace. Since gaol has an O in it, like the words old and outdated, you can use the word’s spelling as a reminder that it is no longer current.