9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[priz-uh-ner, priz-ner] /ˈprɪz ə nər, ˈprɪz nər/
a person who is confined in prison or kept in custody, especially as the result of legal process.
a person or thing that is deprived of liberty or kept in restraint.
Origin of prisoner
1300-50; Middle English < Anglo-French. See prison, -er2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prisoner
  • The prison recidivism and aging prisoner rates are killing our state.
  • Her students have no idea that she is a prisoner of the graduate-school poverty trap.
  • As the prisoner was shut inside he or she would be pierced along the length of their body.
  • The prisoner trails behind, his head bowed, bootlaces skipping along the ground.
  • Now this hypothetical liberty is universally allowed to belong to every one who is not a prisoner and in chains.
  • But the state must take special care when executing a prisoner.
  • In the race for a cure, unscrupulous researchers plan to run secret tests on a violent prisoner.
  • No, terror suspects did not deserve full prisoner-of-war status.
  • One game in particular has proved especially informative in both disciplines: the prisoner's dilemma.
  • At the moment of his execution he is an unarmed prisoner.
British Dictionary definitions for prisoner


a person deprived of liberty and kept in prison or some other form of custody as a punishment for a crime, while awaiting trial, or for some other reason
a person confined by any of various restraints: we are all prisoners of time
(informal) take no prisoners, to be uncompromising and resolute in one's actions
take someone prisoner, to capture and hold someone as a prisoner, esp as a prisoner of war
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 prisoner

"person in prison, captive person," late 14c. (earlier "a jailer," mid-13c., but this did not survive Middle English), from Old French prisonier "captive, hostage" (12c., Modern French prisonnier), from prisoun (see prison (n.)). Captives taken in war have been called prisoners since mid-14c.; phrase prisoner of war dates from 1670s (see also POW). Prisoner's dilemma attested from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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