Definition of inmate in English:



  • 1A person living in an institution such as a prison or hospital.

    ‘inmates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary’
    • ‘The wearing of ritual jewellery must be risk-assessed by prison officers before the inmate is allowed to place it around the neck.’
    • ‘Since then we have seen a huge increase in the demand from prison inmates for such a service.’
    • ‘The prisons are hosting more inmates than they were initially built to handle.’
    • ‘Is a person entitled to receive all accident compensation entitlements while he or she is an inmate in a penal institution?’
    • ‘We have a special housing unit where they house the inmates they interrogate.’
    • ‘In recent times, actions against prison authorities by inmates have become increasingly common.’
    • ‘Before an inmate could use one of the phones the prison service had to activate it.’
    • ‘In real prison situations, inmates are ready to sell body and soul for a stale crust of bread - anything!’
    • ‘Within three years, there would be one prison inmate for every six students completing high school.’
    • ‘These claims do not include allegations of assault by a prison officer on an inmate.’
    • ‘This approach is altered at the final concert, where Cash performs to the inmates of Folsom Prison.’
    • ‘There is a story of a man who visited a prison and asked each inmate what he had done wrong.’
    • ‘It also contains a door with two large glass panels which allows prison officers to observe inmates.’
    • ‘The next crime for which I would sanction the death penalty is the murder of either a prison officer or another inmate whilst serving a life sentence.’
    • ‘If a man who is in charge of inmates breaks prison regulations, he should be charged.’
    • ‘Those members are advocating a system where there is no incentive not to abuse prison inmates.’
    • ‘The inmates of the prison were given an introduction on tackling mental stress.’
    • ‘It is a prison that does not require these new powers to allow prison officers to control inmates.’
    • ‘Also, there are four inmates staying at the prison who are about to finish their sentences.’
    • ‘It will be a far cry from North Sea Camp open prison where inmates have keys to their own rooms.’
    patient, inpatient, hospital case
    prisoner, convict, captive, detainee, internee
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic One of several occupants of a house.
      • ‘There is a wonderful scene at the start of Lukas Moodysson's film when the inmates of the house argue about the washing up.’
      • ‘The interiors of these houses and their inmates corresponded with the exteriors.’
      • ‘The author shows that he was an invaluable one to McCullers, the house's first inmate.’
      • ‘When asked about reality television she tells me she was interested in Big Brother when Germaine Greer was an inmate of the house.’


Late 16th century (denoting a person who shared a house, specifically a lodger or subtenant): probably originally from inn + mate, later associated with in.