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

Agents wore face masks, and video showed detainees packed into their holding areas surrounded by chain-link fence, the concrete floors littered with silver thermal blankets. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "'No shower, no shower!' migrants shout as Pence visits Texas detention centers," 13 July 2019 Allegations of torture inside the camps are rampant, including in accounts given to CNN by former detainees describing forced education under the threat of violence. Ben Westcott, CNN, "22 countries sign letter calling on China to close Xinjiang Uyghur camps," 11 July 2019 Investigators interviewed officers, supervisors and detainees within a few hours and closed the investigation in about 14 months, according to records released by the agency. Peter Nickeas,, "How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?," 10 July 2019 The company has faced class-action lawsuits that allege the company forced detainees to work. Dallas News, "Texans Cornyn, Cuellar among top recipients of campaign donations from private detention company PAC," 10 July 2019 But the North has also returned some South Korean detainees in recent years. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "South Korean Defects to the North, Following in His Parents’ Footsteps," 8 July 2019 But the North has also returned some South Korean detainees in recent years. Choe Sang-hun,, "South Korean defects to the North, following in his parents’ footsteps," 8 July 2019 The report details how lucrative phone contracts with big payouts to sheriffs prey on detainees. Christie Marchese,, "When They See Us: What You Can Do About Mass Incarceration," 5 July 2019 Government inspectors described an increasingly dangerous situation, both for migrants and agents, with escape attempts and detainees clogging toilets with socks to get released during maintenance. Author: Elliot Spagat, Anchorage Daily News, "Jarring images of border cells surface ahead of July 4," 4 July 2019

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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Statistics for detainee

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for detainee

The first known use of detainee was circa 1928

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on detainee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detainee

Nglish: Translation of detainee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detainee for Arabic Speakers

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to complain fretfully

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