cap·​tiv·​i·​ty | \ kap-ˈti-və-tē How to pronounce captivity (audio) \

Definition of captivity

1 : the state of being captive some birds thrive in captivity
2 obsolete : a group of captives

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Examples of captivity in a Sentence

The prisoners were released from captivity. the wildlife refuge raises endangered species in captivity and then releases them into the wild

Recent Examples on the Web

Then, in the post-credit tag, viewers learn that the Russians have an American in captivity. Tim Stack,, "Is [SPOILER] really dead? Duffer Brothers answer burning questions about Stranger Things 3 ending," 8 July 2019 The ultimate goal is to breed the salamanders in captivity — in large numbers — and repopulate them in the wild. Josh Baugh,, "San Antonio scientist works to save endangered salamander in southeastern U.S.," 8 July 2019 Geronimo is buried here, along with more than three hundred other Apache prisoners who died in captivity. Matthew Farwell, The New Republic, "America’s Once and Future Concentration Camp," 3 July 2019 Green iguanas can live up to 10 years in the wild and 19 years in captivity, making their homes on the ground, in shrubs or in trees. Leada Gore |,, "Florida asks people to kill green iguanas ‘whenever possible’," 3 July 2019 In 2016, Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, a US-Iranian dual citizen, was released from an Iranian prison after 544 days of captivity. Erin Cunningham,, "Iran frees US resident Nizar Zakka from prison, lawyer says," 11 June 2019 Attorney Wright told the court what Jayme endured for almost three months of captivity. CBS News, "Jayme Closs: Hometown Hero," 8 June 2019 But a new study suggests that some efforts to save the majestic insects, such as breeding in captivity, could actually make things worse. Doug Criss, CNN, "Monarch butterflies born in captivity have a tougher time migrating south in the winter," 25 June 2019 So the question on the researchers' minds was whether the offspring of monarchs raised in captivity by suppliers would display the same behaviors. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Declining monarch-butterfly populations may be hard to restore," 25 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'captivity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of captivity

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for captivity

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for captivity

The first known use of captivity was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of captivity

: the state of being kept in a place (such as a prison or a cage) and not being able to leave or be free : the state or condition of being captive


cap·​tiv·​i·​ty | \ kap-ˈti-və-tē How to pronounce captivity (audio) \

Kids Definition of captivity

: the state of being held prisoner : the state of being captive

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More from Merriam-Webster on captivity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with captivity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for captivity

Spanish Central: Translation of captivity

Nglish: Translation of captivity for Spanish Speakers

Comments on captivity

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characterized by aphorism

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