incarcerate

verb
in·​car·​cer·​ate | \ in-ˈkär-sə-ˌrāt How to pronounce incarcerate (audio) \
incarcerated; incarcerating

Definition of incarcerate

transitive verb

1 : to put in prison
2 : to subject to confinement

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Synonyms & Antonyms for incarcerate

Synonyms

commit, confine, immure, imprison, intern, jail, jug, lock (up)

Antonyms

discharge, free, liberate, release

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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."

Examples of incarcerate in a Sentence

the state incarcerated over 1900 people last year

Recent Examples on the Web

Daryl had been a dealer, was incarcerated for his crimes. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "Offering Hope From The Other Side," 16 Sep. 2019 The 10-1 vote followed a Chronicle investigation documenting the decline of youth crime in California and the stubbornly high costs to maintain detention facilities and incarcerate juveniles. Joaquin Palomino, SFChronicle.com, "Attorney, youth, public officials detail disturbing conditions in SF juvenile hall," 11 Sep. 2019 His rivals have their own visions to make a dent in the nation’s incarcerated rate, which ranks as the highest in the world. Elana Schor, chicagotribune.com, "Every top Democratic candidate for president wants to change criminal justice laws. Here’s how they would do it.," 10 Sep. 2019 While violating the federal prohibition carries a maximum statute sentence of life in prison, the U.S. attorney’s office said prosecutors will recommend Kim be incarcerated for up to 87 months in return for his guilty plea. Andy Nguyen, Glendale News-Press, "La Crescenta man admits to intending to poison wife with ricin, feds say," 9 Sep. 2019 Fourth, many of the incarcerated are passing away, and the exhibit is a chance to recall their stories with significant anniversaries occurring. Daily Pilot, "New exhibit in Anaheim tells stories of O.C.-based Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II," 5 Sep. 2019 He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for each slaying and, now 66, remains incarcerated. Michele Corriston, PEOPLE.com, "Everything to Know About the Real Serial Killers of Mindhunter Season 2," 19 Aug. 2019 He and his mother were eventually arrested by the Iranian authorities and incarcerated in a military camp. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, "Death of Hamza bin Laden Seen as Blow to Al Qaeda’s Future," 1 Aug. 2019 Experts say such adult certifications are generally uncommon, especially as the juvenile courts system focuses on rehabilitating youth instead of incarcerating them. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "Why a Dallas judge made the rare decision to have a 16-year-old tried as an adult in rape, murder case," 28 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of incarcerate

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incarcerate

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

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Statistics for incarcerate

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incarcerate

The first known use of incarcerate was in 1575

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More Definitions for incarcerate

incarcerate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of incarcerate

formal : to put (someone) in prison

incarcerate

transitive verb
in·​car·​cer·​ate | \ in-ˈkär-sə-ˌrāt How to pronounce incarcerate (audio) \
incarcerated; incarcerating

Legal Definition of incarcerate

Other Words from incarcerate

incarceration \ in-​ˌkär-​sə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce incarceration (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for incarcerate

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

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