Definition of captive in US English:

captive

noun

  • A person who has been taken prisoner or an animal that has been confined.

    • ‘The small room at the end was obviously the room where the captives had been detained.’
    • ‘Each rebel carried many, many weapons so they could arm the captives they saved.’
    • ‘Why had he suddenly turned around, turned himself in, and gotten help for his captives?’
    • ‘Consternation spread through the armed men, and a subdued elation sprang into the hearts of the captives.’
    • ‘Many local leaders, however, continued to sell captives to illegal slave traders.’
    • ‘The government has so far refused to consider the exchange and the captives are condemned to many more years in their jungle prisons.’
    • ‘The United States government is forbidden by its own law from torturing captives and prisoners.’
    • ‘The hostage takers have allowed their 14 captives to receive supplies for the first time ever.’
    • ‘In the old days there were also slaves, those born as slaves and more recent captives.’
    • ‘The rebels generally bring their captives across the border to a Lord's Resistance Army camp in Sudan.’
    • ‘Woomera is the perfect place for a prison camp; even if its captives escape, they won't be able to get far.’
    • ‘Another short chain joins the leg-irons to the handcuffs, ensuring the captives cannot walk properly.’
    • ‘They had become hostages at sea, where captives are more discreetly disposed of than anywhere else.’
    • ‘After great battles, the captives were brought to the temple of Dagon to wait in the darkness.’
    • ‘If his captives were using torture to keep him subdued, he would be too proud to let her know.’
    • ‘They have suffered many casualties, and their jails are full to the brim with captives.’
    • ‘Often, he would hold women as captives until they were sold as slaves at a town held auction.’
    • ‘The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods, stun guns, and dogs.’
    • ‘At one point, the hostage wife demands to take one of the other captives to the ladies' room.’
    • ‘After 1815 British warships who captured slave ships brought freed captives there.’
    prisoner, convict, detainee, inmate
    View synonyms

adjective

  • 1Imprisoned or confined.

    ‘the farm was used to hold prisoners of war captive’
    ‘a captive animal’
    • ‘Transporting captive animals entails confining them in our sense - they do not live well while cooped up - and may result in injury or death.’
    • ‘Her eyes had grown to a soft gray, and there was a spark there that hadn't been ignited in the whole year she'd been captive in the prison.’
    • ‘Through wire mesh, I watch the captive flocks pace out their confinement.’
    • ‘Jared's brother gets whacked, and Jared finds himself a prisoner, inexplicably held captive in a jail cell.’
    • ‘The Western Plains Zoo is now a leading centre for conservation of large mammals from all over the world as well as running captive breeding programs for Australian native birds and animals.’
    • ‘And while scientists don't know for sure, Kunz suggests bat midwifery isn't an anomaly restricted to captive populations.’
    • ‘Much of what wild animals need to know to survive is also learned behavior, which is another reason why it is notoriously difficult to reintroduce captive animals to the wild.’
    • ‘The 64 captive tigers in China are all descendants of six wild animals seized in 1956.’
    • ‘Interactions usually take place in confined settings with captive animals or, more rarely, with unconfined animals who have been conditioned to come by being fed.’
    • ‘He said PAWS objects to circuses keeping wild and exotic animals captive for entertainment.’
    • ‘It would not enjoy territorial contiguity and would continue to be policed by Israeli forces as a virtual prison camp for a captive population.’
    • ‘I had returned to the bed and was laying down, trying to figure out where I was and who was holding me captive, when the lock clicked on the door.’
    • ‘In another case a man from Auxerre was jailed for keeping women captive in the basement of his home.’
    • ‘But they couldn't move, literally, held captive by a security lockdown after a U.S. airliner smashed into a residential area in Queens nearby.’
    • ‘Gerstein's studies with captive manatees have shown that the animals cannot hear approaching boats and get out of the way before being hit.’
    • ‘A captive wild animal can only show us the loneliness, fear and boredom they experience for the entirety of their miserable lives.’
    • ‘She was taken captive early in the plans of imprisonment.’
    • ‘These were then used to hold political prisoners captive.’
    • ‘He rightly recognized that the Berlin Wall was an abomination and a poignant symbol of the chains imprisoning the captive nations of Eastern Europe.’
    • ‘Killing women and children, taking women captive, torturing and mutilating downed males, scalping and beheading are common practices.’
    confined, caged, incarcerated, locked up, penned up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1attributive Having no freedom to choose alternatives or to avoid something.
      ‘advertisements at the movie theater reach a captive audience’
      • ‘If it targets only a captive audience, the intelligentsia, it is an exercise in futility, he argues.’
      • ‘You have a captive audience and you have to entertain them.’
      • ‘Again, it looks like the president is not appearing anywhere except with a captive audience in front of him.’
      • ‘It's all a scheme to build a captive audience for his lectures.’
      • ‘So he's got a captive audience out there, and he's appealing to them.’
      • ‘Non-stop advertising to a captive audience is a marketing heaven and is exactly what our private rail networks plan to introduce very soon.’
      • ‘Spin some tall tale which would hold their captive audience enthralled.’
      • ‘I wanted revenge, but I could hear the suppressed laughter and snickering coming from my captive audience.’
      • ‘The company has made no secret of its intention to work with broadcasters and advertisers, and to market products directly to its 400,000-strong captive audience.’
      • ‘They're a captive audience, with no real choices and no real means to fight for their right to party.’
      • ‘It's just plain exploitation of a captive audience.’
      • ‘Like patients and pupils, motorists are a captive audience.’
      • ‘Given a captive audience and a good percentage of business travellers it is easy for a hotel restaurant to get complacent, not so here.’
      • ‘The transporters take full advantage of the situation by extending sub-standard service to an almost captive clientele.’
      • ‘A Bolton Evening News reader correctly described the victims of that kind of marketing as a ‘vulnerable and captive audience’.’
      • ‘At its core, The Agenda is another book about how the days of selling to eager, captive customers are over.’
      • ‘And we didn't have to act as a captive audience while an ego-maniac musician regaled us with stories of his career/tour/hobbies.’
      • ‘I don't even begrudge them the 30 minutes' worth of commercials they subjected their captive audience to.’
      • ‘Crowds jostle and a six-piece jazz band begins to entertain the captive audience as the rain sheets down outside.’
      • ‘It's an opportunity for box holders to thank a captive audience for their loyalty, as well as fostering goodwill, generating new business and cementing working relationships.’
    2. 1.2 (of a facility or service) controlled by, and typically for the sole use of, an establishment or company.
      ‘a captive power plant’
      • ‘UTI Bank is to open a captive call centre to be operational in the next financial year.’
      • ‘The issue is particularly important for non-financial firms with captive finance companies.’
      • ‘Company leaders note there are independent dairy processors as well as captive dairies Dean Foods is interested in purchasing.’
      • ‘To meet the power requirement of the plant Vedanta will construct a captive power plant with a capacity of 90 mega watt.’
      • ‘Extended interswitching is intended to give captive shippers viable alternatives for rail transport.’
      • ‘Among the new operations is Euro Insurances, a captive company of Lease - Plan Corporation.’
      • ‘Bank of America has firmed up plans to set up a captive BPO outfit in Hyderabad, which will begin operations next month.’
      • ‘Fed up with expensive state assigned-risk pools, DDA rented a captive facility instead - and slashed its expenses by half.’
      • ‘Hundreds of companies are setting up captive insurance units in receptive states.’
      • ‘The number of employees working in captive or in-house IT departments of user organisations which are non-IT firms, is around 280,000.’
      • ‘However, instead of just setting up a massive captive development centre, it wants software developers to use its platform to come out with applications.’
      • ‘During this period, HAL also transformed itself into a commercial organisation from a captive industry, with improved efficiency and productivity.’
      • ‘The acquired company has a steel making capacity of 1m tonne, matching mills and associated infrastructure including a captive port.’
      • ‘The USA also retains residual regulation concerning captive shippers.’
      • ‘The option to captive offshoring is to outsource to a third party vendor abroad, something that is seen as being more cost effective and in some ways more painless.’
      • ‘The multinational firms included those with large captive business process outsourcing centres serving parent firms abroad.’
      • ‘Company A and Company B relied on their own captive suppliers for the development of this subsystem.’
      • ‘To avoid heavy losses, the banks had their captive securities firms package the loans and sell them as securities to the proverbial widows and orphans.’
      • ‘SDD, is a captive one, SCC being a captive supplier of SDD.’
      • ‘In Delhi, there would be about 73,000 IT professionals of Indian companies doing both captive and outsourcing jobs.’
      • ‘This is a sector to watch very closely, with the industry having taken on tremendous debt loads to fund their captive finance companies.’
      • ‘Perhaps they would have developed a captive equipment supplier base and tried to reap all the benefits exclusively.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin captivus, from capere ‘seize, take’.

Pronunciation

captive

/ˈkæptɪv//ˈkaptiv/