Etymology
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Words related to prison

prize (n.2)

"something taken by force," mid-13c., prise "a taking, holding," from Old French prise "a taking, seizing, holding," noun use of fem. past participle of prendre "to take, seize," from Latin prendere, contraction of prehendere "lay hold of, grasp, seize, catch" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take").

Especially of a ship captured legally at sea (1510s). The spelling with -z- is from late 16c.

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pre- 

word-forming element meaning "before," from Old French pre- and Medieval Latin pre-, both from Latin prae (adverb and preposition) "before in time or place," from PIE *peri- (source also of Oscan prai, Umbrian pre, Sanskrit pare "thereupon," Greek parai "at," Gaulish are- "at, before," Lithuanian prie "at," Old Church Slavonic pri "at," Gothic faura, Old English fore "before"), extended form of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "beyond, in front of, before."

The Latin word was active in forming verbs. Also see prae-. Sometimes in Middle English muddled with words in pro- or per-.

*ghend- 

also *ghed-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to seize, to take." 

It forms all or part of: apprehend; apprentice; apprise; beget; comprehend; comprehension; comprehensive; comprise; depredate; depredation; emprise; enterprise; entrepreneur; forget; get; guess; impresario; misprision; osprey; predatory; pregnable; prehensile; prehension; prey; prison; prize (n.2) "something taken by force;" pry (v.2) "raise by force;" reprehend; reprieve; reprisal; reprise; spree; surprise.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek khandanein "to hold, contain;" Lithuanian godėtis "be eager;" second element in Latin prehendere "to grasp, seize;" Welsh gannu "to hold, contain;" Russian za-gadka "riddle;" Old Norse geta "to obtain, reach; to be able to; to beget; to learn; to be pleased with;" Albanian gjen "to find."

imprison (v.)
c. 1300, from Old French emprisoner "imprison; be in prison" (12c.), from assimilated form of in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + prison (see prison). Formerly also emprison. Related: Imprisoned; imprisoning.
prehension (n.)

1530s, "seizure, arrest," from Latin prehensionem (nominative prehensio) "a seizing," noun of action from past-participle stem of prehendere "to catch hold of, seize" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take"). Prison is a doublet. Use in philosophy is from 1925.

prisoner (n.)

"person confined in a prison, captive person," mid-14c. (earlier "a jailer," mid-13c., but this did not survive Middle English), from Old French prisonier "captive, hostage" (12c., Modern French prisonnier), from prisoun (see prison (n.)) and from Medieval Latin prisonarius.


Figurative sense of "one who is deprived of liberty or kept in restraint" is from late 14c. Captives taken in war have been called prisoners since late 14c., but the phrase prisoner of war dates from 1670s (see also POW). The children's game prisoner's base is attested as such by 1590s (prison base); the logic problem of the prisoner's dilemma is attested by that name from 1957.