arraign

verb

ar·​raign ə-ˈrān How to pronounce arraign (audio)
arraigned; arraigning; arraigns

transitive verb

1
: to call (a defendant) before a court to answer to an indictment : charge
2
: to accuse of wrong, inadequacy, or imperfection
arraignment noun

Examples of arraign in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Iredale, the private defense attorney, explained the previous flow of a typical felony criminal case like this: when a defendant was first arraigned, his or her case was assigned to one of three felony readiness judges. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 May 2024 Advertisement She was arraigned Wednesday morning and was ordered to remain in custody by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, according to a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for arraign 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arraign.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English araynen, areynen, arreynen "to ask (a question), ask (someone) a question, interrogate, rebuke, (in law) call upon to answer an accusation," borrowed from Anglo-French arener, araisner, arrener "to speak to, ask questions of, call to account, (in law) call upon to answer an accusation," going back to Vulgar Latin *adratiōnāre, from Latin ad- ad- + Vulgar Latin *ratiōnāre "to speak, converse," verbal derivative of Latin ratiōn-, ratiō "reckoning, calculation, explanation" (early Medieval Latin also "justification, dispute, discussion, speech") — more at reason entry 1

Note: The spoken Latin form *adratiōnāre gave rise to two paradigms in medieval French, one based on stress on the stem (as in first person singular j'araisone), another based on stress on the ending (as in second person plural vous araisniez). In Anglo-French these developed into two more or less distinct verbs (arener and araisuner) with only partial semantic overlap, the legal sense belonging predominantly to arener. The verb araisuner was taken into Middle English as aresounen "to address, ask a question," with "present with an accusation" as a very infrequent meaning; it appears to have dropped from use after the sixteenth century. In modern standard French only the tonic form arraisoner survives; to judge by its inclusion in French-English dictionaries (Larousse, Oxford-Hachette), the most current meaning is "to board and inspect (an airplane or ship)." The g in English arraign, which first turns up in the early sixteenth century, has no evident etymological justification.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of arraign was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near arraign

Cite this Entry

“Arraign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arraign. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

arraign

verb
ar·​raign ə-ˈrān How to pronounce arraign (audio)
: to call before a court to answer to a charge
arraignment noun

Legal Definition

arraign

transitive verb
ar·​raign ə-ˈrān How to pronounce arraign (audio)
: to bring (a defendant) before a judge or magistrate to hear the charges and to plead usually either guilty or not guilty compare indict

Note: For a person to be formally arraigned, he or she must be called by name before a judge or magistrate. The judge or magistrate makes sure that the defendant is the person named in the complaint, indictment, or information, which is then read to formally notify the defendant of the charges. The defendant may then enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or another plea allowed by law such as nolo contendere. In some cases, as when the defendant is not yet represented by a lawyer, the judge or magistrate may enter a plea of not guilty on the defendant's behalf.

arraignment noun
Etymology

Anglo-French arrainer, from Old French araisnier to address, call to account, from a-, prefix stressing goal of an action + raisnier to speak

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