1 : to put in prison
2 : to subject to confinement
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."
Because the accused man presented a serious threat to society, the judge ordered that he remain incarcerated while he awaited trial.
"In a rare instance of bipartisanship, Congress over the past year called for 'smart criminal justice reform.' To make that happen, Congress must change laws that unnecessarily incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Americans." - From an opinion piece by Bill Strizich in the Great Falls Tribune (Montana), September 9, 2013
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