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

The decision resurrected questions about how the military treats detainees and how soldiers should conduct themselves in places where lethal danger is ever present. Taimoor Shah, The Seattle Times, "Trump to ‘review’ case of Green Beret accused of murdering Afghan," 16 Dec. 2018 Last week, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the city jail will no longer accept new detainees of the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "1 arrested during immigration policy protest outside Atlanta city jail," 2 July 2018 In 2012, a detainee from Argentina went on hunger strike. Alex Leary And Steve Bousquet, miamiherald, "Who's holding immigrants in Florida? Private vendors, feds and county sheriffs, too.," 29 June 2018 In 2008, for example, the U.S. Army urgently acquired FN303 paintball guns to help maintain order in detainee camps, though such projectiles were too weak against enraged subjects. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Secret History of Plasma Weapons," 14 Nov. 2018 Under the 36-year leadership of President Paul Biya, the nation has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including killing unarmed protesters, torturing detainees, shutting off the internet and locking up journalists. New York Times, "In Troubled Cameroon, U.S. Envoy Is Accused of Election Meddling," 12 July 2018 The company has also transported ICE detainees for years. Agnel Philip, azcentral, "What we know (and don't) about the unlicensed Phoenix facility where migrant kids were held," 10 July 2018 In an op-ed in the New York Times, a group of law firm CEOs wrote about their opposition to the policy, and pledged to help reunify families and represent detainees in their asylum cases. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Separated at the border, asylum seeker pleads for son's return," 5 July 2018 Tabak said about 20 to 25 people, including former detainees, participated in four meetings over six weeks to help Mayor Bottoms reach her decision. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Here's Why Atlanta's Mayor Won't Let the City's Jail Hold ICE Detainees Anymore," 17 Sep. 2018

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

12 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for detainee

The first known use of detainee was circa 1928

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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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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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