In Persian, someone who has once been a prisoner of war and now is free and not a prisoner anymore is called "Azadeh", literally meaning liberated, free(d). What is the English equivalent for this sense?

2 Answers 2


You call them a "a former POW", the acronym standing for "prisoner of war":

a person who is captured and held by an enemy during war, especially a member of the armed forces.

  • Former PW is cool! I like it. Aug 23, 2015 at 15:23
  • 2
    @JasonStack - Not PW - It has to be POW or PoW. Aug 23, 2015 at 16:32
  • 1
    Wikipedia has also used PW. That's why I used it. Aug 23, 2015 at 18:58
  • 1
    This is the correct answer because we have no special word for it. And "former" is better than "liberated", because not all former PoWs were liberated. Aug 23, 2015 at 20:32
  • 1
    ex-POW is also very common, at least in print.
    – Jim Mack
    Aug 23, 2015 at 21:15

Agreed with @Cenaturus, they could also be called "liberated prisoners of war".

  • 4
    In British English "liberated" might suggest they had been freed because the prison had been captured during the war itself, not that they had been released voluntarily at the end of the war. Incidentally this dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/… seems to imply "Azadeh" is referring to freedom as the opposite of slavery, not to warfare - but of course historically, captured enemy combatants were often used as slaves.
    – alephzero
    Aug 23, 2015 at 20:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.