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take no prisoners

1. Lit. to kill the enemy rather than seize the enemy as prisoners. The soldiers' orders were to take no prisoners.
2. Fig. to be extremely ruthless with the opposition. The new manager takes no prisoners. He is ruthless and stern.
See also: prisoner, take

take no prisoners


not take any prisoners

If someone takes no prisoners or does not take any prisoners when they are carrying out a plan or an action, they do it in a very forceful and determined way, without caring if they harm or upset other people. Neil is rough and aggressive; he takes no prisoners. She'd learned the hard way not to take any prisoners. She went in there with an agenda, and she wasn't prepared to make any compromises. Note: You can also say that someone has a take-no-prisoners attitude or approach to something. We had a take-no-prisoners attitude, and we didn't care who we upset. Note: This expression refers to the practice of killing enemy soldiers rather than keeping them as prisoners.
See also: prisoner, take

prisoner of conscience

a person detained or imprisoned because of their religious or political beliefs.
This phrase is particularly associated with the campaigns of Amnesty International, a human-rights organization.
See also: conscience, of, prisoner

take no prisoners

be ruthlessly aggressive or uncompromising in the pursuit of your objectives.
1998 Times The transition from Formula One to front-wheel drive saloon cars was never going to be easy…especially in a series where drivers are not known for taking prisoners.
See also: prisoner, take

take no ˈprisoners

be extremely aggressive and show no sympathy for other people in trying to achieve your aims: She took no prisoners in her dealings with the unions.Her take-no-prisoners approach has been remarkably successful.
See also: prisoner, take

take no prisoners

1. To kill all of an enemy or a population.
2. To be ruthless or unrestrained, as in an undertaking: "Grandmother was both very pretty and very mouthy. She took no prisoners" (Nicki Giovanni).
See also: prisoner, take
References in classic literature ?
And did they not leave him on the south side of the river, with their prisoners, while they have gone foolishly on the north?
We agreed to this also, but were soon convinced their policy was to take us prisoners.
There is, I think, no chance that they will proceed to any actual violence against their prisoners.
As Lorquas Ptomel raised his eyes to address the prisoner they fell on me and he turned to Tars Tarkas with a word, and gesture of impatience.
Place that table there," said a voice which the prisoner recognized as that of Felton.
He remained silent, his eyes fixed upon the light; the boat went on, but the prisoner thought only of Mercedes.
So it was ordered the prisoner was henceforth to eat nothing that had not previously been tasted, and La Ramee was in consequence placed near him as taster.
Lippet, if you are retained for the prisoner,” interrupted Judge Temple, “instruct your client how to plead; if not, the court will assign him counsel.
And then began for the French officer the most terrifying experience which man can encounter upon earth--the reception of a white prisoner into a village of African cannibals.
asked the prisoner, with the tone of a man who is preparing for a struggle.
Without further thought as to who had taken whom prisoner, the Frenchman ran back to the battery and Pierre ran down the slope stumbling over the dead and wounded who, it seemed to him, caught at his feet.
Respected Jury and dearly beloved Ozma, I pray you not to judge this feline prisoner unfeelingly.
And, this being the prison, and you the jailer, it is my duty to place the prisoner in your charge.
On finding the cell of Cornelius de Witt empty, the wrath of the people ran very high, and had Gryphus fallen into the hands of those madmen he would certainly have had to pay with his life for the prisoner.
And, again, the chief lawyers for the prosecution and the defense, following the Judge's example, had revised their speeches for and against the prisoner.