Webster 1828 Edition



The act of putting and confining in prison;
the act of arresting and detaining in custody.
Confinement in a place; restraint of liberty to go from place to place at pleasure. Appropriately, the confinement of a criminal or debtor within the walls of a prison, or in the custody of a sheriff, &c.
False imprisonment is any confinement of the person, or restraint of liberty, without legal or sufficient authority. The arrest or detention of the person by an officer without warrant, or by an illegal warrant, or by a legal warrant executed at an unlawful time, is false imprisonment.

Definition 2022




Alternative forms


imprisonment (countable and uncountable, plural imprisonments)

  1. A confinement in a place, especially a prison or a jail, as punishment for a crime.
    • Spenser
      His sinews waxen weak and raw / Through long imprisonment and hard constraint.
    • Blackstone
      Every confinement of the person is an imprisonment, whether it be in a common prison, or in a private house, or even by forcibly detaining one in the public streets.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      Oh, by what plots, by what forswearings, betrayings, oppressions, imprisonments, tortures, poisonings, and under what reasons of state and politic subtilty, have these forenamed kings [] pulled the vengeance of God upon themselves []