Definition of “prisoner” - English Dictionary

british dictionary

“prisoner” in British English

See all translations

prisonernoun [ C ]

uk /ˈprɪz.ən.ər/ us /ˈprɪz.ən.ɚ/

B1 a person who is kept in prison as a punishment:

Prisoners climbed onto the prison roof to protest the conditions inside the prison.
hold/keep/take sb prisoner

C2 to catch and guard someone so that they cannot escape:

Of 10,000 troops, 7,000 were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.
The pilot and several passengers were held prisoner by the gunmen for 57 hours.

More examples

  • Early this morning, armed police surrounded a house which they thought contained an escaped prisoner.
  • Cooped up in a small dark cell, the prisoner hadn't seen daylight for five years.
  • Hundreds of prisoners began a fast in protest about prison conditions.
  • Arrangements were made to move the prisoners to another jail.
  • More than half of all prisoners discharged are reconvicted within two years.

(Definition of “prisoner” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“prisoner” in American English

See all translations

prisonernoun [ C ]

us /ˈprɪz·ə·nər, ˈprɪz·nər/

a person who is kept in prison as punishment

A prisoner is also someone who is under the control of someone else and not physically free:

Two security guards were held/taken prisoner during the robbery.

(Definition of “prisoner” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)