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 The wizard Merlin imprisons an engineer named Hank Morgan, who has accidentally travelled from nineteenth-century America to sixth-century Camelot. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2024 The colonial government quickly retaliated, executed 40 of the rebels, imprisoned another 300, tracked down Chilembwe along the Mulanje Mountains near the Mozambique border and shot him dead. Mark Jenkins, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Apr. 2024 Because her incarcerated relative is imprisoned several hours away from her home, the price of the video calls is especially affordable compared with the cost of an in-person visit. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2024 Trump Again Targets Judge s Daughter In New York Criminal Case Major Pixel 9 Leak Reveals Google’s Surprise New Device Once the order was filled, the enslavers running the sweatshop where Sheikh was imprisoned closed it down and left the workers unpaid and homeless. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Hit-and-run drivers in some states, including Nevada and Connecticut, could be imprisoned for up to 20 years, according to data from the American Automobile Association. Ryan Lillis, Sacramento Bee, 29 Mar. 2024 But Roland, the judge, compared Eastman's actions unfavorably with Donald Segretti, a lawyer imprisoned during the Watergate scandal for his political sabotage on behalf of former President Richard Nixon. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 28 Mar. 2024 Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, an up-and-coming FBI agent who reluctantly consults imprisoned murderer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to track down a dangerous serial killer. Wesley Stenzel,, 27 Mar. 2024 Among them: Pretrial detention would count as time spent wrongfully imprisoned, and people pardoned by the governor would be eligible to file a claim. Anna Clark, ProPublica, 26 Mar. 2024

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 Apr. 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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