pris·on·er (prĭzə-nər, prĭznər)
1. A person held in custody, captivity, or a condition of forcible restraint, especially while on trial or serving a prison sentence.
2. One deprived of freedom of expression or action: "He was a prisoner of his own personality—of that given set of traits that ... predisposed him to see the world in a certain way, to make certain moves, certain choices" (William H. Hallahan).
take no prisoners
1. To kill all of an enemy or a population.
2. To be ruthless or unrestrained, as in an undertaking: "Grandmother was both very pretty and very mouthy. She took no prisoners" (Nicki Giovanni).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.