Definition of prisoner in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprɪz(ə)nə/


1A person legally committed to prison as a punishment for a crime or while awaiting trial: a prisoner serving a life sentence
More example sentences
  • A third of all inmates are remand prisoners who are awaiting trial or sentencing.
  • Certainly, the cost to society of convicted prisoners who commit further crimes as soon as they are released is a high one.
  • The cells are used to hold prisoners awaiting trial, or following conviction, pending transfer to a main prison.
informal jailbird, con, lifer
British informal (old) lag
North American informal yardbird
archaic transport
1.1A person captured and kept confined by an enemy or criminal: she may have been held prisoner before being killed 200 rebels were taken prisoner
More example sentences
  • After conquering Troy, you will need to rescue some villagers that have been taken prisoner by an unknown enemy.
  • He had allowed his dear friend, his sister in Christ, to be taken prisoner by their enemies.
  • Taken prisoner, he was jailed and as a POW served time in Wakefield and Frongoch prisons.
1.2A person who is or feels confined or trapped by a situation: he’s become a prisoner of the publicity he’s generated
More example sentences
  • He was a suffering prisoner of emotions trapped in a cage, but yet he was not.
  • She felt trapped, like a prisoner trapped in a jail cell with no luck of escaping.
  • I am a virtual prisoner in my own home from April until mid October.


take no prisoners

Be ruthlessly aggressive or uncompromising in the pursuit of one’s objectives: they will be taking no prisoners tonight against bitter rivals Wigan
More example sentences
  • He was a mighty, and very aggressive warrior who took no prisoners in war.
  • Football's about tough uncompromising individuals, who bleed real blood, take no prisoners and fight to the very end, yeah?
  • It was not the best, but some of the pitches were bad and referees were like some of the players - they took no prisoners.


Late Middle English: from Old French prisonier, from prison (see prison).

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