im·​pris·​on | \ im-ˈpri-zᵊn How to pronounce imprison (audio) \
imprisoned; imprisoning; imprisons

Definition of imprison

transitive verb

: to put in or as if in prison : confine

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Other Words from imprison

imprisonment \ im-​ˈpri-​zᵊn-​mənt How to pronounce imprisonment (audio) \ noun

Examples of imprison in a Sentence

He was imprisoned for murder. He has threatened to imprison his political opponents.
Recent Examples on the Web The country's own national security law has been interpreted broadly in the past to imprison activists, intellectuals and journalists. James Griffiths, CNN, "China revealed some details of Hong Kong's national security law and it's as bad as critics feared," 22 June 2020 At the opening dinner of the same summit, Bolton says, the U.S. interpreter told him that Trump spoke approvingly of Xi’s decision to imprison more than a million Chinese Uighurs in modern-day concentration camps. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "John Bolton’s Epic Score-Settling," 18 June 2020 Reports on the treatment of Uighurs over the past several years have revealed that China has undertaken an effort to persecute and imprison the Muslim minority, as well as members of Falun Gong, Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "State Department warns that China is exporting methods of religious repression," 10 June 2020 If Polo’s body was imprisoned, his mind roamed free. The Economist, "Home Entertainment Confined in prison, Marco Polo roamed across the world," 23 May 2020 Khamenei was imprisoned six times by the Shah’s secret police, including a stint, in 1974, at a Tehran prison euphemistically named the Joint Anti-Sabotage Committee. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Twilight of the Iranian Revolution," 18 May 2020 Manafort had been imprisoned since 2018 when he was accused of witness tampering while on bail awaiting trial on bank and tax fraud charges. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'This system stinks': Schiff accuses Barr of politicizing DOJ on behalf of Trump after Manafort release," 13 May 2020 Saudi Arabia imprisoned 26 journalists in 2019, according to CPJ tracking. Lydia Belanger, Fortune, "Coronavirus could spread in prisons where censored journalists are detained," 1 May 2020 Thousands were imprisoned and tortured by PIDE, the secret police, which helped the authoritarian regime to stay in power for four decades. Marta Vidal, The Christian Science Monitor, "When guns bloomed with flowers: In lockdown, Portugal remembers," 24 Apr. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for imprison

Middle English, from Anglo-French emprisoner, from en- + prison prison

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Time Traveler for imprison

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for imprison

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for imprison


How to pronounce imprison (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of imprison

: to put (someone) in prison


im·​pris·​on | \ im-ˈpri-zᵊn How to pronounce imprison (audio) \
imprisoned; imprisoning

Kids Definition of imprison

: to put in prison

Legal Definition of imprison

: to confine in prison especially as punishment for a crime — compare false imprisonment

Other Words from imprison

imprisonment noun

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