inmate

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From inn +‎ mate, or from in- +‎ mate.

Noun[edit]

inmate (plural inmates)

  1. A person confined to an institution such as a prison (as a convict) or hospital (as a patient)
  2. A person who occupies or dwells within a dwelling-house. The word came to be used to refer to temporary inhabitants such as guests in a hotel, students in an on-campus dormitory, patients in a hospital, or prisoners.

Usage notes[edit]

Perhaps around 1970, television journalists began to use the word as a euphemism for "prisoner", and today perhaps many young people cannot remember that it ever had any other meaning.

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