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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from imprison

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for imprison



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of imprison in a Sentence

He was imprisoned for murder. He has threatened to imprison his political opponents.
Recent Examples on the Web Fjerda, the country to the north, has Grisha hunters that kill or imprison people with powers who fight in Ravka's Second Army. Quinci Legardye, Marie Claire, 29 Apr. 2021 Unfounded fears of teens zonked out on the pot have been weaponized by law-enforcement lobbies, prohibition-minded lawmakers, and unscrupulous grifters as reason why cannabis must remain cause to imprison and impoverish freedom-loving Americans. Chris Roberts, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 On Monday, Reid was charged with driving while intoxicated, a felony that could potentially imprison him for up to seven years. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2021 Minneapolis law enforcement authorities have anticipated the possibility of violence in the city following the jury's eventual verdict on whether to imprison Chauvin on murder charges. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, 13 Apr. 2021 The companies’ offense is to have issued statements last year decrying forced labor in the concentration camps Beijing operates to imprison Uighurs in Xinjiang. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 25 Mar. 2021 Hong Kong authorities moved this weekend to imprison nearly the entire opposition movement. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 28 Feb. 2021 He was charged with using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison the woman in June 2019. CBS News, 25 Jan. 2021 Lomeli was charged with using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison the woman in June 2019. NBC News, 24 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imprison

Time Traveler for imprison

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for imprison

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imprison



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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!