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

Synonyms & Antonyms for imprison


commit, confine, immure, incarcerate, intern, jail, jug, lock (up)


discharge, free, liberate, release

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Examples of imprison in a Sentence

He was imprisoned for murder. He has threatened to imprison his political opponents.

Recent Examples on the Web

Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience (in other words, someone imprisoned for his views, not for an actual crime). Elie Wiesel and Yelena Bonner, among others, campaigned for his release. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Human-Rights Leader," 11 July 2019 The Warmbiers say their son was tortured after being convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster and imprisoned for months. Jim Mustian,, "Otto Warmbier’s parents file claim for seized North Korean cargo ship, seeking to collect on judgment in wrongful death case," 6 July 2019 Some have since been released on bail, while others have remained imprisoned for more than a year, enduring torture, according to rights groups. Megan Specia, New York Times, "Saudi Arabia Granted Women the Right to Drive. A Year on, It’s Still Complicated.," 24 June 2019 If Moore is convicted of the felony, he may be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for up to 25 years. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A man has been charged with child neglect after a 5-year-old boy shot, killed himself in Milwaukee," 23 June 2019 Like Serial, though, the podcast wonders if the wrong man is imprisoned for the murder. Rebecca Farley,, "These Podcasts Will Satisfy Your Craving For Making A Murderer," 15 June 2019 Ahok was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years. Margaret Scott, The New York Review of Books, "Indonesia’s New Islamist Politics," 18 Apr. 2019 Trump and Putin were scheduled to talk at the G-20 in Buenos Aires in December, but Trump canceled the meeting after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and imprisoned 23 Ukrainian sailors, who all remain in Russian custody. Eli Stokols,, "‘Don’t meddle in the election,’ Trump tells Putin with a smile," 28 June 2019 Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism Berlin, Germany Thousands of gay men were imprisoned in concentration camps in Nazi Germany, where many died of disease, starvation, torture, and targeted killings. Ivan Quintanilla, National Geographic, "These monuments honor LGBTQ history around the world," 22 June 2019

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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Statistics for imprison

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for imprison

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

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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


transitive verb

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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More from Merriam-Webster on imprison

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imprison

Spanish Central: Translation of imprison

Nglish: Translation of imprison for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imprison for Arabic Speakers

Comments on imprison

What made you want to look up imprison? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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