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.


  1. captive

    A captive is a person, animal, or object that is confined or held under control by another; this could be as a prisoner, a pet in a cage, or a thing unable to move or be moved freely. The term can also be used to describe someone who is mesmerized or fully engrossed, as in "captive audience".

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. David Schenker:

    There are obvious risks with upping the ante, there's a very real prospect that more Jordanians will come into harm’s way and more additional troops will be taken captive or killed.

  2. Jared Huffman:

    I am thrilled to see the wave of opposition build to where SeaWorld finally has done the right thing and ended their captive breeding program of orcas.

  3. Mike Berry:

    Theyre there to cause people to reflect and honor those who were held captive and remember those who were missing, for someone like Mikey Weinstein or any other group to try to desecrate or remove any display, its a slap in the face to veterans whove served.

  4. Donald Trump:

    Germany is a captive of Russia, it's very inappropriate.

  5. Shawn Steel:

    She’s using her power as a teacher who gives grades, with a captive audience, to basically scare and shame students.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for captive

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for captive »


Find a translation for the captive definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"captive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/captive>.

Discuss these captive definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for captive? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    a levy of one tenth of something
    A sousing
    B calcaneus
    C tithe
    D volubility

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for captive: