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

Examples of imprison in a Sentence

He was imprisoned for murder. He has threatened to imprison his political opponents.
Recent Examples on the Web Donald Trump, Turkish police again imprisoned the writer. James Grady, Washington Post, "As Turkish writer Ahmet Altan is rearrested, his prison memoir is as urgent as ever," 14 Nov. 2019 Still, in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other country, some of Norway’s methods have been adopted by Oregon and North Dakota. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "New York’s Jails Are Failing. Is the Answer 3,600 Miles Away?," 12 Nov. 2019 Instead, egged on by the government, the drama involving fifty-two imprisoned Americans dragged on for four hundred and forty-four days. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "The Hostage Drama in Iran Drags On—Forty Years Later," 4 Nov. 2019 Religious intolerance, devastating Persian and Afghan invasions, a series of weak and unstable rulers, and powerful viziers and regional potentates left the emperor imprisoned and his heir, Shah Alam, exiled from Delhi. Iain Murray, National Review, "The Rise of the East India Company Is Not a Cautionary Tale about Corporate Power," 2 Nov. 2019 In the show coming to South Florida, Hodgson re-creates his role of Joel Robinson, an unwilling test subject whom a mad scientist forces to watch corny and cheesy movies while imprisoned on a spacecraft. Rod Stafford Hagwood,, "November events, from comedy and food festivals to Colombia-Peru soccer and alligator wrestling," 31 Oct. 2019 Generally speaking, there’s a strong taboo in liberal democracies against calling for one’s political opponents to be arrested or imprisoned outright, even when there’s evidence of criminal behavior. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s World Series Boo-Birds Are a Sign of a Healthy Democracy," 28 Oct. 2019 The group lost its last strip of territory in March, but there are an estimated 14,000 to 18,000 members remaining in Iraq and Syria, with another 12,000 fighters imprisoned. Stefan Becket And Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Trump says ISIS leader "died like a coward" in U.S. raid in Syria," 27 Oct. 2019 Former president Hosni Mubarak, who was arrested and imprisoned following the Arab Spring revolution in 2011, was an avid supporter of the sport and helped facilitate the staging of a tournament in front of the pyramids. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Women's squash world champion to earn more than men's winner," 24 Oct. 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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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

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

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


not agreeing with established beliefs

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