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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state or period of being imprisoned, confined, or enslaved.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being captive.
  • n. A group of people/beings captive.
  • n. The state or period of being imprisoned, confined, or enslaved.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being a captive or a prisoner.
  • n. A state of being under control; subjection of the will or affections; bondage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being a prisoner, or of coming into the power of an enemy by force or the fortune of war.
  • n. Subjection; the state of being under control; bondage; servitude.
  • n. Captives collectively; a body of captives.
  • n. Synonyms Imprisonment, Captivity, Confinement, Incarceration, Immurement. There is the same distinction between imprisonment and captivity as between prisoner and captive. (See captive.) Confinement is the most general word for being kept within bounds against one's will, as by force or sickness; we speak of solitary confinement, and figuratively, of too great confinement (though voluntary) to one's books. Incarceration is the being put into a jail or prison; the word is rhetorical, suggesting ignominy, with narrow range and great safeguards against escape. Immurement, literally shutting within walls, is now freely figurative; in either sense it suggests depth of separation or seclusion from friends, home, or the world, and small likelihood of getting or coming out. (See servitude and serf.)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of being a slave
  • n. the state of being imprisoned


Form of captive, from the Middle English captive, from the Latin captivus. Entered into the English lexicon around 14c. (Wiktionary)



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