prisonerpris‧on‧er /ˈprɪzənə $ -ər/ ●●●S3W2 noun [countable]1SCJsomeone who is kept in a prison as a legalpunishment for a crime or while they are waiting for their trial → guard, imprisonRelationships 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).2SCPMsomeone who is taken by force and kept somewhereSYN captivehold/keep somebody prisonerThe guerrillas kept her prisoner for three months.He was being held prisoner.Our pilot was taken prisoner.The army advanced, taking 200,000 prisoners.3someone who is in a place or situation from which they cannot escapeHe 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 historicaldescriptions, or in the phrasean 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 mentalhospitalSome 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 formalword 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 politicalaimDiplomats 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 BayCOLLOCATIONSADJECTIVES/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.