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 shares a residence (such as a hotel guest, a lodger, or a student living on campus), or other place.

Usage notes[edit]

Perhaps around 1970, television journalists began to use the word as a euphemism for prisoner, and this has become the primary, if not only, definition among younger generations. When speaking of persons receiving medical services, patient may be preferred instead.

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