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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for imprisonment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There will be only a few months of imprisonment and then I will be free.

    The Twin Hells John N. Reynolds
  • He was liberated after a week's imprisonment, but banished to his chateau at Verteuil.

    Reflections Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld
  • Here he experienced all the rigour of penury and imprisonment for seven years.

  • His imprisonment was intended to be little more than nominal.

    Bunyan James Anthony Froude
  • But for the first few days after Dalaber's arrest and imprisonment the excitement was too keen to admit of any mediation.

    For the Faith Evelyn Everett-Green
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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