"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for imprison
  • These conventions may once have made sense, but today they imprison poetry in an intellectual ghetto.
  • We imprison far too many people for far too inconsequential reasons, warping millions of lives in the process.
  • The judge issued him a mere rebuke, refusing to imprison or fine him.
  • The government seeks to imprison him for twelve to fifteen years.
  • It will imprison drug dealers for a longer period of time, and those who prey on our children will be sent to prison for life.
  • He was sentenced to a seventy-six month term of imprison ment.
  • Historians may make the past legible but in doing so they also imprison it.
British Dictionary definitions for imprison


(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 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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