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

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 While small parts of the two-masted wooden schooner have been brought to the surface, researchers have found that most of the ship — including the pen that was used to imprison the captives — remains intact on the river bottom. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 The Russian law effectively forbids any depiction of or reference to homosexuality at all in the country and it has been used to imprison activists. Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Mar. 2022 The legislation came into effect on April 1, according to an official gazette issued Friday, and allows authorities to arrest and imprison suspects without warrants. Rukshana Rizwie, Sophie Jeong And Alex Stambaugh, CNN, 1 Apr. 2022 In the meantime, of course, Putin continues to imprison those who oppose him and his war inside Russia. Jo-ann Mort, The New Republic, 31 Mar. 2022 Executive Order 9066 was a policy implemented by the U.S. government under President Franklin Roosevelt to round up and imprison U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent. Fox News, 25 Mar. 2022 His People Power Party had been in disarray following the impeachment of its leader, President Park Geun-hye​, whom Mr. Yoon helped convict and imprison on corruption charges​. New York Times, 9 Mar. 2022 While China and other repressive regimes employ facial recognition software to harass, intimidate and imprison entire populations, many American Googlers have protested any cooperation by their employer with the American intelligence community. Harvey Klehr, WSJ, 26 Jan. 2022 Their departure accelerates a long-running process of shutting down Russia’s civil society, without the state having to persecute and imprison people individually. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of imprison was in the 14th century

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Statistics for imprison

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Imprison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for imprison


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

More from Merriam-Webster on imprison

Nglish: Translation of imprison for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imprison for Arabic Speakers


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