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

transitive verb

: to put in or as if in prison : confine
imprisonment 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 Dozens of them have been imprisoned for speaking out against the war. Simon Shuster, TIME, 14 May 2024 Zhang Zhan, thought to be the first person in China imprisoned for documenting the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, was expected to be released on Monday, after serving a four-year sentence. Vivian Wang, New York Times, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for imprison 

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near imprison

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​pris·​on im-ˈpriz-ᵊn How to pronounce imprison (audio)
imprisoned; imprisoning
: to put in or as if in prison
imprisonment noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: to confine in prison especially as punishment for a crime compare false imprisonment
imprisonment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on imprison

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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