Definition of captivity in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The condition of being imprisoned or confined.

    ‘he was released after 865 days in captivity’
    ‘the third month of their captivity passed’
    • ‘Those first few months of captivity, for the most part, passed the quickest.’
    • ‘Some Australian bird species or parrot species will breed quite happily here in captivity.’
    • ‘I had malaria 46 times during captivity, although luckily not while I was in the cage.’
    • ‘The French withdrew, taking the pope with them as a prisoner, and he died in French captivity.’
    • ‘I met Brian just six months after he came out of captivity, and I was struck by how unsettled he seemed.’
    • ‘The pope was taken prisoner and kept in polite captivity for nine months.’
    • ‘The urine is likely to be obtained from foxes kept in captivity or those that have been shot by gamekeepers to protect their stock.’
    • ‘Most animals' basic needs can be met in captivity if conditions are sufficiently favourable.’
    • ‘She will survive her many wounds and, we hope, mend from the trauma of her captivity.’
    • ‘Were the families of those who did not survive captivity fairly compensated?’
    • ‘The major had been in captivity for two months after being captured along with a team of Indian peacekeepers.’
    • ‘The next three days of captivity are described over three chapters.’
    • ‘Freedom, in short, is a subjective concept that can mean either liberation or lifelong captivity.’
    • ‘After three and a half years in captivity, only one-third of the prisoners were still alive.’
    • ‘What an opportunity to proclaim real liberty to those in physical captivity and spiritual bondage!’
    • ‘The sad fate of the German prisoners of war held in Soviet captivity is generally known in the Federal Republic.’
    • ‘Female cowbirds were held in captivity and released at the end of the breeding season.’
    • ‘If Amber does make a full recovery she will spend the rest of her life in captivity for her own protection.’
    • ‘Millions of the 5 million or so who returned alive from German captivity were sentenced to labour camps.’
    • ‘Later in 1945, when in captivity, he spoke about the shooting to fellow prisoners.’
    imprisonment, confinement, internment, incarceration, custody, detention, restraint, constraint, committal, arrest
    bondage, slavery, servitude, enslavement, subjugation, subjection
    thraldom, thrall
    duress, durance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1


Late Middle English: from Latin captivitas, from captivus taken captive (see captive).