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 imprison (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 More than one million Christians in Saudi Arabia remain unable to worship at all, and Iran continues to harass and imprison Christian converts. Timothy Dolan And Toufic Baaklini, WSJ, "Remember the Persecuted at Christmas," 16 Dec. 2020 After a pandemic nearly decimates the world’s male population, a mother and son go on the run in a hot-wired car, fleeing a government that wants to imprison them and a relative set on exploiting them. Washington Post, "50 notable works of fiction in 2020," 19 Nov. 2020 The point of all this equipment is not to imprison you with tools and technique, but to use them to open your senses for the coffee to come. Washington Post, "How to make an excellent coffee pour-over and start your day right," 20 Oct. 2020 The second, would be to wonder how anyone professing to be a liberal believes that a committee of nations that regularly torture, murder, and imprison political dissidents has any moral or legal standing over American affairs. David Harsanyi, National Review, "A New York Times Columnist Wish-Casts Foreign Intervention into U.S. Elections," 8 Oct. 2020 In recent years, the Xinjiang government has allegedly undertaken a large campaign to imprison and re-educate Muslim minorities in the region, especially the large Uyghur population. Ben Westcott And Selina Wang, CNN, "Disney hit by backlash after thanking Xinjiang authorities in 'Mulan' credits," 8 Sep. 2020 As voting rights expanded to Black men after the Civil War, the report said, many states — particularly in the South — toughened criminal laws to imprison formerly enslaved people, and passed new laws disenfranchising those who had been convicted. Washington Post, "D.C. and Maryland have new policies allowing prisoners to vote. Making it happen is hard.," 25 Sep. 2020 The Continental Army used it to defend against a British naval assault; the Union Army, to imprison captured Confederate officers. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "A Climate Center on Governors Island? Could Be a Game Changer," 17 Sep. 2020 More recently, India turned to a colonial-era sedition law that had been used to imprison Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 to threaten civil society groups and stifle protests. Mary Hui, Quartz, "A law that once outlawed insulting the Queen is now being used to stifle speech in Hong Kong," 9 Sep. 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

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on imprison

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