de·​tain·​ee | \ di-ˌtā-ˈnē How to pronounce detainee (audio) , ˌdē- \

Definition of detainee

: a person held in custody especially for political reasons

Examples of detainee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every former camp detainee Amnesty interviewed in the report recounted cruel and degrading treatment, including torture. NBC News, 10 June 2021 Additionally, a detainee with a significant criminal history was found inadvertently co-mingling with detainees with no criminal history, a violation of standards. Geneva Sands, CNN, 5 May 2021 Dart said the jail had found a way to safely conduct visitations outside and has a plan for every detainee before they are released. Javonte Anderson,, 12 Nov. 2020 The agreement is the first involving a Guantánamo detainee that the Biden administration has reached since taking office. New York Times, 14 May 2021 The court has already implemented other COVID safety protocols such as screening all detainee’s prior to coming to court to ensure that their temperature is lower than 100.4 as well as plexiglass dividers in the courtroom. Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard, 15 Apr. 2021 In the time since ICE began testing its detainees, a detainee has died of the virus nearly every month. Eli M. Cahan, Scientific American, 26 Feb. 2021 The decisions usually include a recommendation for security assurance as well as the board’s recommendations for rehabilitation, repatriation or resettlement of the detainee who is approved for transfer. New York Times, 17 May 2021 Singh works as a mechanic, and the other detainee, Sumit Sehdev, works as a chef. Washington Post, 14 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detainee.' 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 detainee

circa 1928, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for detainee

Time Traveler

The first known use of detainee was circa 1928

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Statistics for detainee

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Detainee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for detainee



English Language Learners Definition of detainee

: a person who is being kept in a prison especially for political reasons : a person who is being detained


de·​tain·​ee | \ di-ˌtā-ˈnē How to pronounce detainee (audio) \

Legal Definition of detainee

: a person who is detained especially : a person held in custody prior to trial or hearing


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