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’
    • ‘If that proves to be the case the magistrate commits the prisoner or prisoners as happened in the present case.’
    • ‘At the time of the offences the appellant was either in custody on remand or as a serving prisoner.’
    • ‘And one in six prisoners are on remand-people awaiting trial who have been convicted of no crime.’
    • ‘Whether a prisoner awaiting execution has the right to have a baby, is a point of dispute in the legal field.’
    • ‘The American Bar Association has been fiercely critical of the way that prisoners have been treated legally.’
    • ‘Certainly, the cost to society of convicted prisoners who commit further crimes as soon as they are released is a high one.’
    • ‘A habeas corpus writ requires the release of a prisoner held without trial or lawful charge.’
    • ‘The guards were impressed with the quiet prisoner who accepted his punishment without insubordination.’
    • ‘At trial, the prisoners had the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.’
    • ‘In his view, the conduct of the prisoners in these Russian trials is in full accord with the Russian character.’
    • ‘Prisoners can also be victims of crime, committed by other prisoners, guards, or the state.’
    • ‘There was no need for another trial as the prisoners had already been tried and sentenced in an open court.’
    • ‘As of January this year, death row contained 3,697 prisoners awaiting execution.’
    • ‘A third of all inmates are remand prisoners who are awaiting trial or sentencing.’
    • ‘In August 2001, he began a relationship with a woman who was a serving prisoner.’
    • ‘The conflict was concluded by the treaty of Westphalia in 1648, by which time Charles was a prisoner awaiting trial.’
    • ‘The order is taken to be a warrant committing the prisoner into custody for the Corrective Services Act.’
    • ‘The cells are used to hold prisoners awaiting trial, or following conviction, pending transfer to a main prison.’
    • ‘Nearly four thousand prisoners currently await their fate on death row.’
    • ‘Her fear is that of a prisoner, awaiting execution, in the merciless sunlight of an American dream.’
    convict, inmate
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
      • ‘In 1359 he was in France with Edward III's invading army, was taken prisoner, and ransomed.’
      • ‘He had allowed his dear friend, his sister in Christ, to be taken prisoner by their enemies.’
      • ‘Later in the war he was taken prisoner by the Germans while working on a reconnaissance mission in the Greek islands.’
      • ‘Never in the history of past wars has any combatant done that to enemy prisoners.’
      • ‘It was only in the spring of 1942 that the SS began to send more prisoners into armaments work.’
      • ‘The International Red Cross reported that a Macedonian soldier held prisoner was being treated properly.’
      • ‘A few days later Churchill was himself taken prisoner when the armoured train that he was travelling on was ambushed at Chieveley.’
      • ‘Parmentier, a French army officer during the Seven Years War, was taken prisoner and kept in detention in Hamburg.’
      • ‘After conquering Troy, you will need to rescue some villagers that have been taken prisoner by an unknown enemy.’
      • ‘Everybody knew about Hitler's order that no commandos should be taken prisoner.’
      • ‘He was taken prisoner by the Khmer Rouge while working in Cambodia when on the payroll of HALO.’
      • ‘Taken prisoner in the second battle of St Albans, he was freed after Edward IV's victory at Towton.’
      • ‘The men were taken prisoner and taken to a Dutch army barracks in Batavia, the capital city of Java.’
      • ‘Being taken prisoner, they should resist it and do nothing that would harm their own country.’
      • ‘Taken prisoner, he was jailed and as a POW served time in Wakefield and Frongoch prisons.’
      • ‘Many of those held at the huge Shibarghan jail were taken prisoner after the fall of Kunduz.’
      • ‘In the Second World War he served in the tank corps, was taken prisoner by the Germans, escaped, and worked for the Resistance.’
      • ‘These boys were taken prisoner and survived the war, but thousands more were less fortunate.’
      • ‘From time to time there would be executions of guerillas taken prisoner by government forces.’
      • ‘He was captured by the Chinese Communist Forces and, separated from the other Royal Marines, was taken prisoner.’
    2. 1.2A person who is or feels confined or trapped by a situation.
      ‘he's become a prisoner of the publicity he's generated’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I am a disabled driver and often feel a prisoner in my own home.’
      • ‘Residents claim faulty street lights have made them virtual prisoners in their own homes.’


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