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[im-priz-uh n] /ɪmˈprɪz ən/
verb (used with object)
to confine in or as if in a prison.
Origin of imprison
1250-1300; Middle English enprisonen < Old French enprisoner, equivalent to en- en-1 + prison prison + -er infinitive suffix
Related forms
imprisonable, adjective
imprisoner, noun
imprisonment, noun
reimprison, verb (used with object)
reimprisonment, noun
unimprisonable, adjective
unimprisoned, adjective
incarcerate, jail, restrain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for imprisonment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The years roll on, the time of imprisonment is over, the man is free.

  • I have seen the duke: the cause of your imprisonment is as I suspected.

    Calderon The Courtier Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The term of your imprisonment ceases when you relinquish the hope of Beatriz.

    Calderon The Courtier Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Crushed at first by his imprisonment, he had soon found a dull relief in it.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • He was liberated after a week's imprisonment, but banished to his chateau at Verteuil.

    Reflections Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld
British Dictionary definitions for imprisonment


(transitive) to confine in or as if in prison
Derived Forms
imprisoner, noun
imprisonment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for imprisonment

late 14c., from Anglo-French emprisonement, Old French emprisonement (13c.), from emprisoner (see imprison).



c.1300, from Old French emprisoner (12c.), from em- "in" (see in- (2)) + prison (see prison). Related: Imprisoned; imprisoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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