cell·​mate ˈsel-ˌmāt How to pronounce cellmate (audio)
variants or less commonly cell mate
plural cellmates also cell mates
: a person who shares a prison cell with another prisoner
When his cellmates learned that his bond had been set at $1 million (and bail at $500,000), they broke into laughter and shook their heads in disbelief.Richard Behar
Within a week, guards came by at night and told me to get ready. … I said goodbye to my cellmates and gathered my things …Clare Morgana Gillis

Examples of cellmate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cellmate claims Gray told him there was plastic sheeting laying on the floor. Natalie Morales, CBS News, 3 Feb. 2024 Several minutes later, Barnes was allegedly seen choke-holding his cellmate from behind. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 3 Jan. 2024 The police quote his lyrics back to him and ask for tickets to his shows, and a cellmate — Staples is arrested after a stop for speeding — wants to sing for him, but more often his name means nothing. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 The video obtained by WFAA shows Reed standing over his cellmate, who is on the ground apparently in pain as Reed gloats. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Feb. 2024 Advertisement Evidence in the case later led homicide detectives to suspect Yates had been killed by his cellmate, Alvin McDonald Ruis, Jarjura said. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Jan. 2024 In 2021, he was held at Mule Creek State Prison, but was removed after strangling to death his new cellmate, Kibbe, who was notorious for a string of rapes and murders in the 1970s and 1980s. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 9 Jan. 2024 Another episode covers the story of Alex Wheatle, an award-winning author, and his relationship with his cellmate while in prison, which turned his life in a different direction. Amanda Taub, New York Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Cages crammed with hundreds of men who must sleep on their sides like sardines, as their cellmates wearily stand to make room, and shallow holes scraped from the earth with log and dirt ceilings so low that inmates cannot stand up. Katharine Houreld, Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cellmate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1839, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cellmate was in 1839

Dictionary Entries Near cellmate

Cite this Entry

“Cellmate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cellmate. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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