early 12c., from Old French prisoun "captivity, imprisonment; prison; prisoner, captive" (11c., Modern French prison), altered (by influence of pris "taken;" see prize (n.2)) from earlier preson, from Vulgar Latin *presionem, from Latin prensionem (nominative prensio), shortening of prehensionem (nominative *prehensio) "a taking," noun of action from past participle stem of prehendere "to take" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take"). "Captivity," hence by extension "a place for captives," the main modern sense.
"to imprison," early 14c., from prison (n.) or Old French prisoner (v.). Related: Prisoned; prisoning.
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