incarcerate

verb in·car·cer·ate \ in-ˈkär-sə-ˌrāt \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

Definition of incarcerate

incarcerated; incarcerating
transitive verb
1 : to put in prison
2 : to subject to confinement

incarceration

play \(ˌ)in-ˌkär-sə-ˈrā-shən\ noun

incarcerate was our Word of the Day on 10/07/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of incarcerate in a Sentence

  1. the state incarcerated over 1900 people last year

Recent Examples of incarcerate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incarcerate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

A criminal sentenced to incarceration may wish his or her debt to society could be canceled, but such a wistful felon might be surprised to learn that incarcerate and cancel are related. Incarcerate comes from incarcerare, a Latin verb meaning "to imprison." That Latin root comes from carcer, Latin for prison. Etymologists think that cancel probably got its start when the spelling of carcer was modified to cancer, which means "lattice" in Latin-an early meaning of cancel in English was "to mark (a passage) for deletion with lines crossed like a lattice." Aside from its literal meaning, incarcerate can also have a figurative application meaning "to subject to confinement," as in "people who are incarcerated in their obsessions."

Origin and Etymology of incarcerate

Latin incarceratus, past participle of incarcerare, from in- + carcer prison


INCARCERATE Defined for English Language Learners

incarcerate

verb

Definition of incarcerate for English Language Learners

  • : to put (someone) in prison


Law Dictionary

incarcerate

transitive verb in·car·cer·ate \ in-ˈkär-sə-ˌrāt \

legal Definition of incarcerate

incarcerated; incarcerating

incarceration

play \in-ˌkär-sə-ˈrā-shən\ noun

Origin and Etymology of incarcerate

Latin incarceratus, past participle of incarcerare, from in- in + carcer prison



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

sticky or viscid

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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