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

Definition of arraign

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from arraign

arraignment \ ə-​ˈrān-​mənt How to pronounce arraign (audio) \ noun

Examples of arraign in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mouat is expected to be formally arraigned before Brown on Tuesday morning. Ray Kisonas, Detroit Free Press, "Police: Michigan man assaulted black teen with bike chain in 'racially motivated' attack," 8 June 2020 Bologna surrendered Monday and is waiting to be arraigned, according to Mike Neilon of Bellevue Public Relations. Steve Almasy, Melanie Schuman And Elizabeth Joseph, CNN, "Philadelphia police inspector surrenders to face charges of assaulting student during protest," 8 June 2020 Police soon arrived and arrested Carrillo, who will be arraigned Friday. Matthias Gafni,, "Suspected killer of Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputy posted criticism of police in hours before shooting," 8 June 2020 The Erie County District Attorney said that the officers, 39-year-old Aaron Torgalski, and 32-year-old Robert McCabe, were virtually arraigned this morning. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Buffalo cops plead not guilty to assault charges in shoving of protester," 6 June 2020 Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were arraigned virtually and released on their own recognizance by Buffalo City Court Judge Craig Hannah, Mr. Flynn said at a news conference. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Buffalo Police Officers Plead Not Guilty Over Charges of Assaulting 75-Year-Old Protester," 6 June 2020 Tinsley was finally arraigned around 1 p.m. Monday but was not officially released from jail until sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. Tuesday. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "What we know about the 170-plus people arrested amid the ongoing Breonna Taylor protests," 6 June 2020 But that charge was dismissed by the Florida state attorney before Foster was arraigned. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Washington planning for Reuben Foster to be ready to play," 28 May 2020 Huges is to be arraigned on the allegations in Multnomah County Circuit Court Monday afternoon. oregonlive, "Portland police arrest 19-year-old accused of sexual assault attack in Mt. Tabor Park," 4 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arraign.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arraign

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arraign

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.

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

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Cite this Entry

“Arraign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for arraign



English Language Learners Definition of arraign

law : to state the charges against someone who is accused of a crime in a formal procedure before a judge


transitive verb
ar·​raign | \ ə-ˈrān How to pronounce arraign (audio) \

Legal Definition of arraign

: 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.

Other Words from arraign

arraignment noun

History and Etymology for arraign

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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Nglish: Translation of arraign for Spanish Speakers

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