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See more synonyms for imprison on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to confine in or as if in a prison.
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Origin of imprison

1250–1300; Middle English enprisonen < Old French enprisoner, equivalent to en- en-1 + prison prison + -er infinitive suffix
Related formsim·pris·on·a·ble, adjectiveim·pris·on·er, nounim·pris·on·ment, nounre·im·pris·on, verb (used with object)re·im·pris·on·ment, nounun·im·pris·on·a·ble, adjectiveun·im·pris·oned, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

incarcerate, apprehend, detain, jail, commit, hold, remand, nab, constrain, closet, immure, ice, keep, trammel, intern, restrain, stockade, pen, circumscribe, curb

Examples from the Web for imprison

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And then, too, what fine jokers are those fellows who imprison art in a toy-box!

  • A man may arrest his own slave, and he may also imprison for safe-keeping the runaway slave of a friend.



  • If they imprison you for resisting their tyrannies, others will take your place.

  • Who has the right to imprison and assign the terms and conditions to the imprisoned?

  • It is in self-seeking and advancement that we narrow our faculties and imprison our natures.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for imprison


  1. (tr) to confine in or as if in prison
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Derived Formsimprisoner, nounimprisonment, 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

Word Origin and History for imprison


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper