What does captive mean?

Definitions for captive
ˈkæp tɪvcap·tive

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word captive.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. prisoner, captivenoun

    a person who is confined; especially a prisoner of war

  2. captivenoun

    an animal that is confined

  3. captiveadjective

    a person held in the grip of a strong emotion or passion

  4. captive, confined, imprisoned, jailedadjective

    being in captivity

  5. captive, absorbed, engrossed, enwrapped, intent, wrappedadjective

    giving or marked by complete attention to

    "that engrossed look or rapt delight"; "then wrapped in dreams"; "so intent on this fantastic...narrative that she hardly stirred"- Walter de la Mare; "rapt with wonder"; "wrapped in thought"


  1. captivenoun

    a person who has been captured or is otherwise confined

  2. captivenoun

    a person held prisoner

  3. captiveadjective

    held prisoner; not free; confined

  4. Etymology: Ultimately from captivus.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Captiveadjective

    Made prisoner in war; kept in bondage or confinement.

    Etymology: captivus, Lat.

    But fate forbids; the Stygian floods oppose,
    And with nine circling streams the captive souls inclose. John Dryden, Æn. vi.

  2. CAPTIVEnoun

    Etymology: captif, Fr. captivus, Lat.

    You have the captives,
    Who were the opposites of this day’s strife. William Shakespeare, K. Lear.

    This is no other than that forced respect a captive pays to his conquerour, a slave to his lord. John Rogers.

    Free from shame
    Thy captives: I ensure the penal claim. Alexander Pope, Odyssey.

    If thou say Antony lives, ’tis well,
    Or friends with Cæsar, or not captive to him. William Shakespeare.

    My mother, who the royal sceptre sway’d,
    Was captive to the cruel victor made. Dryden.

    My woman’s heart
    Grossly grew captive to his honey words. William Shakespeare, Richard III.

  3. To Captiveverb

    To take prisoner; to bring into a condition of servitude.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    But being all defeated save a few,
    Rather than fly, or be captiv’d, herself she slew. Fairy Q. b. ii.

    Oft leavest them to hostile sword
    Of heathen and profane, their carcasses
    To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captiv’d. John Milton, Agonist.

    What further fear of danger can there be?
    Beauty, which captives all things, sets me free. Dryden.

    Still lay the god: the nymph surpriz’d,
    Yet, mistress of herself, devis’d,
    How she the vagrant might inthral,
    And captive him, who captives all. Matthew Prior.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Captivenoun

    a prisoner taken by force or stratagem, esp., by an enemy, in war; one kept in bondage or in the power of another

  2. Captivenoun

    one charmed or subdued by beaty, excellence, or affection; one who is captivated

  3. Captiveadjective

    made prisoner, especially in war; held in bondage or in confinement

  4. Captiveadjective

    subdued by love; charmed; captivated

  5. Captiveadjective

    of or pertaining to bondage or confinement; serving to confine; as, captive chains; captive hours

  6. Captiveverb

    to take prisoner; to capture

  7. Etymology: [L. captivus, fr. capere to take: cf. F. captif. See Caitiff.]


  1. Captive

    Captive is a science fiction role-playing video game released by Mindscape in 1990. A Dungeon Master "clone", it featured pseudo 3D realtime graphics from a first-person perspective. The player characters are androids operated remotely by a prisoner trying to free himself. The player assumes the role of the prisoner, and the game involves visiting and destroying a series of bases on different planets. It was released on Amiga, Atari ST and PC platforms.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Captive

    kap′tiv, n. one taken: a prisoner of war: one kept in bondage.—adj. taken, or kept prisoner in war; charmed or subdued by anything.—ns. Cap′tivaunce (Spens.), captivity; Captiv′ity; Cap′tor, one who takes a prisoner or a prize; Cap′ture, the act of taking: the thing taken: an arrest.—v.t. to take as a prize: to take by force. [L. captivuscapĕre, captum.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. captive

    A prisoner of war.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. captive

    A prisoner taken by force or stratagem in war, by an enemy; made prisoner, especially in war; kept in bondage or confinement.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce captive?

How to say captive in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of captive in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of captive in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of captive in a Sentence

  1. Philippines President Benigno Aquino:

    We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months.

  2. Charlie Crist:

    Abusive conservatorships can be an unending nightmare, and tragically we don’t know how many people are being held captive against their will under the broken guardianship system, under the FREE Act, we would Free Britney along with the countless number of seniors and persons with disabilities being abused and exploited by the broken system.

  3. Keith McCoy:

    Because they're a captive audience. They know they need The Exxon lobbyist and I need them.

  4. Antony Blinken:

    The families of Americans who are held captive abroad, we know that they also face incredible hardship, we remain in regular contact with these families, we are grateful for their partnership, we are grateful for their feedback – we continue to work to ensure we are communicating and sharing information with them in a way that is useful.

  5. Mike McCarter:

    This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon, if Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature wo n’t hold our counties captive against our will. If we’re allowed to vote for which government officials we want, we should be allowed to vote for which government we want as well.

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Translations for captive

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"captive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 7 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/captive>.

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    interchangeable with `means' in the expression `by means of'
    • A. ditch
    • B. evangelist
    • C. anil
    • D. dint

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