An inmate is a person who lives in a specific place, especially someone who's confined there, like a prisoner. You can call yourself an Inmate if you get sent to your room, but usually inmates are behind bars in "the big house."

You can talk about a hospital inmate or the inmates at a local boarding school, but it's most common to use inmate and prisoner interchangeably. Originally, in the 16th century, an inmate was "one allowed to live in a house rented by another" — a roommate who's not on the lease, in other words. This meaning comes from in and mate, "friend or companion." By the 1830s, inmate had come to mean "one confined to an institution."

Definitions of inmate
  1. noun
    one of several residents of a dwelling (especially someone confined to a prison or hospital)
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    type of:
    occupant, occupier, resident
    someone who lives at a particular place for a prolonged period or who was born there
  2. noun
    a person serving a sentence in a jail or prison
    synonyms: con, convict, yard bird, yardbird
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    a prisoner serving a term of life imprisonment
    a convict who is considered trustworthy and granted special privileges
    type of:
    captive, prisoner
    a person who is confined; especially a prisoner of war
  3. noun
    a patient who is residing in the hospital where he is being treated
    synonyms: inpatient
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    a patient who does not reside in the hospital where he is being treated
    type of:
    a person who requires medical care
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