Definition of incarcerate in US English:



[with object]
  • Imprison or confine.

    ‘many are incarcerated for property offenses’
    • ‘Women are rarely imprisoned for violent crimes, and much less so than incarcerated men.’
    • ‘The cost of incarcerating a person in jail is $135 per day.’
    • ‘Many of the offenders who end up in Limerick prison find themselves in better conditions than they had been prior to being incarcerated.’
    • ‘The regime calls the detention ‘protective custody,’ a euphemism for incarcerating dissidents without trial for an indefinite period.’
    • ‘Serious criminal offenders may be incarcerated in an Australian jail by arrangement.’
    • ‘The committee is urging the USA to stop incarcerating children and teenagers along with adults, a practice it says puts them at the mercy of older seasoned inmates.’
    • ‘These days politicians of every hue attempt to prove themselves tougher on crime than their opponents, thinking up ever more ingenious means of incarcerating an even greater part of the population.’
    • ‘More than 100,000 are incarcerated in labour camps without trial.’
    • ‘Crime is up, and jails, which disproportionately incarcerate blacks, are ‘the biggest industry in several states,’ he says.’
    • ‘But prisoners still belong to the society that incarcerates them.’
    • ‘She said Aboriginal people were suffering great injustices in court and too many were being incarcerated.’
    • ‘The success rate was not as high as we would have liked but it was significantly cheaper than incarcerating them in prison.’
    • ‘Police also learned that the brothers had just recently been released from jail where they had been incarcerated for theft.’
    • ‘You can visit Robben Island, too, 7km off the coast, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for all those years.’
    • ‘And while it's pretty expensive to incarcerate men, you can expect to spend double the cost to incarcerate women because of the cost of their confinement and also the cost to society of their kids.’
    • ‘In Florida alone, 10,000 non-violent drug offenders are incarcerated.’
    • ‘The Pre-Crime Unit may, in fact, be seizing and incarcerating those who were never going to commit any offenses.’
    • ‘The agency has expressed interest in renting a facility near Chicago where it can incarcerate immigrant detainees awaiting deportation hearings.’
    • ‘Rather, we differ from other nations only in our high propensity to imprison nonviolent offenders and to incarcerate them for long periods.’
    • ‘The detainees were incarcerated at a midwestern county juvenile detention center.’
    imprison, put in prison, send to prison, jail, lock up, take into custody, put under lock and key, put away, intern, confine, detain, hold, put into detention, immure, put in chains, clap in irons, hold prisoner, hold captive
    confine, shut away, shut up, coop up
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (earlier ( late Middle English) as incarceration): from medieval Latin incarcerat- ‘imprisoned’, from the verb incarcerare, from in- ‘into’ + Latin carcer ‘prison’.