From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishprisonerpris‧on‧er /ˈprɪzənə $ -ər/ ●●● S3 W2 noun [countable] 1 SCJsomeone who is kept in a prison as a legal punishment for a crime or while they are waiting for their trial → guard, imprison Relationships between the staff and the prisoners are good. Prisoners here only serve short sentences.remand prisoner British English (=someone who is in prison waiting for their trial) The organization is arguing for the release of political prisoners (=people in prison because of their political opinions).2 SCPMsomeone who is taken by force and kept somewhere syn captivehold/keep somebody prisoner The guerrillas kept her prisoner for three months. He was being held prisoner. Our pilot was taken prisoner. The army advanced, taking 200,000 prisoners.3 someone who is in a place or situation from which they cannot escape He is a prisoner of his own past.THESAURUSprisoner someone who is kept in a prison as a punishment for a crime, or while they are waiting for their trialPrisoners may be locked in their cells for twenty-two hours a day.a prisoner serving a life sentence for murderconvict especially written someone who has been found guilty of a crime and sent to a prison. Convict is used especially about someone who is sent to prison for a long time. It is more commonly used in historical descriptions, or in the phrase an escaped convictThe convicts were sent from England to Australia.Police were hunting for an escaped convict.Low-risk convicts help to fight forest fires and clean up public lands.inmate someone who is kept in a prison or a mental hospitalSome inmates are allowed to have special privileges.He was described by a fellow inmate as a quiet man. captive especially literary someone who is kept somewhere and not allowed to go free, especially in a war or fighting. Captive is a rather formal word which is used especially in literatureTheir objective was to disarm the enemy and release the captives.She was held captive (=kept as a prisoner) in the jungle for over three years.prisoner of war a soldier, member of the navy etc who is caught by the enemy during a war and kept in the enemy’s countryMy grandad was a prisoner of war in Germany.They agreed to release two Iranian prisoners of war.hostage someone who is kept somewhere as a prisoner, in order to force people to agree to do something, for example in order to get money or to achieve a political aimDiplomats are continuing their efforts to secure the release of the hostages.The US hostages were held in Tehran for over a year.detainee/internee someone who is kept in a prison, usually because of their political views and often without a trialIn some cases, political detainees have been beaten or mistreated.23,531 people passed through the camps between 1944 and 1962, including 14,647 political internees. the detainees at Guantanamo Bay COLLOCATIONSADJECTIVES/NOUN + prisonera remand prisoner British English (=one who is waiting for their trial)A prison governor is refusing to accept any more remand prisoners.a condemned prisoner (=one who is going to be punished by being killed)There is an appeal process for condemned prisoners.a political prisoner (=one who is in prison because of their political opinions)They demanded that the military government free all political prisoners.an escaped prisonerSoldiers arrived, looking for escaped prisoners.verbsrelease/free a prisonerHundreds of prisoners were released.
Examples from the Corpusprisoner• The state now has 152,000 prisoners in 32 prisons.• The county has 90 prisoners in a jail designed for 29.• Her father spent three years as a prisoner of war in Korea.• But the typist turns out to be a prisoner serving a sentence for rape.• My parents were very strict. Sometimes I felt like a prisoner in my own home.• But Eskel Gorov was a prisoner in their hands, and Gorov was not a hostage to lose.• A prisoner release organisation was helping him find accommodation.• It's a science fiction story about people being taken to another planet as prisoners.• We have lost a division general and two or three regiments of our soldiers as prisoners.• enemy prisoners• Mann was held prisoner in the back of the Chevrolet and told she was going to be killed.• Thousands of political prisoners remain imprisoned, frequently as a result of unfair trials.• There have been reports of the systematic torture of political prisoners.• All the soldiers were either killed or taken prisoner.• The courtrooms were on the upper floors, and the prisoners were brought into the service bay.• The prisoners can each be sure of benefiting if they have a previously agreed pact never to confess, whatever the circumstances.• The prisoners who went insane were those who were illiterate and without imagination.• The prisoners are allowed an hour's exercise every day.political prisoners• Political parties are trying to claim back property confiscated more than 60 years ago, and political prisoners are demanding financial compensation.• For these reasons, they have an enormous sense of solidarity with popular protest movements, trade unionists and political prisoners.• For former political prisoners, memories of life on the island are a constant and sometimes debilitating companion.• In March 1990 six more political prisoners were reportedly prepared for execution.• The guards in and around the prison deliberately provoke the political prisoners.• White political prisoners were housed on the mainland, as were women.taking ... prisoners• We moved from the orchard taking the prisoners with us and leaving the wounded to be taken to the rear.