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

Synonyms & Antonyms for imprison



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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 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, "You Can Smoke Marijuana Outside In New York. But Should You?," 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, "Opinion: Chiefs must be transparent about Britt Reid as he's charged with DWI in crash that left a child with brain injuries," 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, "Defense begins case in Chauvin trial and summons officer who arrested George Floyd in the past," 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, "Beijing’s Global Cancel Culture," 25 Mar. 2021 Hong Kong authorities moved this weekend to imprison nearly the entire opposition movement. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Erasing Hong Kong’s Democrats," 28 Feb. 2021 He was charged with using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison the woman in June 2019. CBS News, "Former TSA agent sentenced to jail for tricking woman into showing breasts at L.A. airport," 25 Jan. 2021 Lomeli was charged with using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison the woman in June 2019. NBC News, "Former TSA agent convicted for tricking woman into showing breasts at LAX," 24 Jan. 2021 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

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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on imprison

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