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prisoner definition


This page has 5 definitions of prisoner in English and Middle English. Prisoner is a noun. Also define these 9 related words and terms: incarcerate, prison, trial, sentence, imprison, jailer, prisoner, captive, and prisoner of war.

English prisoner definition


From Middle English prisoner, from Old French prisonier (compare Medieval Latin prisōnārius), equivalent to prison +‎ -er.



prisoner (plural prisoners)

  1. A person incarcerated in a prison, while on trial or serving a sentence.
  2. Any person held against their will.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0105:
      Captain Edward Carlisle, soldier as he was, martinet as he was, felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, her alluring smile ; he could not tell what this prisoner might do.

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


Middle English prisoner definition

Etymology 1

Form prisounen +‎ -er.


prisoner (plural prisoners)

  1. one who imprisons (others); a jailer

Etymology 2

Borrowed from Old French prisonier; equivalent to prisoun +‎ -er.

Alternative forms


  • IPA(key): /priˈzoːnər/, /ˈprizɔnər/


prisoner (plural prisoners or prisoneres)

  1. prisoner
  2. captive, prisoner of war
    • Prisoner Of War definition
      A soldier or combatant who is captured by the enemy. Abbreviations POW, PW.