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[verb in-kahr-suh-reyt; adjective in-kahr-ser-it, -suh-reyt] /verb ɪnˈkɑr səˌreɪt; adjective ɪnˈkɑr sər ɪt, -səˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), incarcerated, incarcerating.
to imprison; confine.
to enclose; constrict closely.
Origin of incarcerate
1520-30; < Medieval Latin incarcerātus past participle of incarcerāre to imprison, equivalent to in- in-2 + carcer prison + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
incarceration, noun
incarcerative, adjective
incarcerator, noun
unincarcerated, adjective
1. jail, immure, intern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incarcerated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Fraser was incarcerated in a quiet, very private asylum, and that was all.

  • It was written while she was incarcerated in the cell of a lonely prison.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
  • How to escape from prison was ever the thoughts by day and dreams by night of the incarcerated.

    Clotelle William Wells Brown
  • I related, in a few words, who I was and how I came to be incarcerated.

  • He still didn't know why he was incarcerated, or what regulation he had broken.

    Next Door, Next World Robert Donald Locke
British Dictionary definitions for incarcerated


(transitive) to confine or imprison
Derived Forms
incarceration, noun
incarcerator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin incarcerāre, from Latin in-² + carcer prison
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 incarcerated



1550s, a back-formation from incarceration, or else from Medieval Latin incarceratus, past participle of incarcerare "to imprison" (see incarceration). Related: Incarcerated; incarcerating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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incarcerated in Medicine

incarcerated in·car·cer·at·ed (ĭn-kär'sə-rā'tĭd)
Confined or trapped, as a hernia.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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