prisoner of war

noun
a person who is captured and held by an enemy during war, especially a member of the armed forces. Abbreviation: POW

Origin:
1670–80

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prisoner of war
 
n
POW a person, esp a serviceman, captured by an enemy in time of war

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

prisoner of war

(pow, or Pw), any person captured or interned by a belligerent power during war. In the strictest sense it is applied only to members of regularly organized armed forces, but by broader definition it has also included guerrillas, civilians who take up arms against an enemy openly, or noncombatants associated with a military force

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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