Share this entry
prisoner Line breaks: pris|on¦er
Pronunciation: /ˈprɪz(ə)nə/

Definition of prisoner in English:


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).

Definition of prisoner in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources