arrest

verb
ar·​rest | \ ə-ˈrest \
arrested; arresting; arrests

Definition of arrest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : seize, capture specifically : to take or keep in custody by authority of law Police arrested the suspect.
2a : to bring to a stop Sickness arrested his activities.
b : check, slow Its growth was arrested.
c : to make inactive an arrested tumor
3 : to catch suddenly and engagingly arrest attention

arrest

noun

Definition of arrest (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the taking or detaining in custody by authority of law The investigation led to his arrest.
2a : the act of stopping
b : the condition of being stopped or inactive — compare cardiac arrest
under arrest
: in legal custody The suspect was placed under arrest.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from arrest

Verb

arrester or less commonly arrestor \ -​ˈres-​tər \ noun
arrestment \ -​ˈres(t)-​mənt \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for arrest

Synonyms: Verb

apprehend, bust [slang], collar, nab, nail, nick [British slang], pick up, pinch, pull in, restrain, run in, seize

Synonyms: Noun

apprehension, arrestment, bust [slang], collar, pinch

Antonyms: Verb

discharge

Antonyms: Noun

discharge

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of arrest in a Sentence

Verb

The police arrested him on drug charges. The police officer said, “I'm arresting you in the name of the law.” The drugs can't arrest the disease's progress, but they can slow it down considerably.

Noun

The police are investigating the case but they have not yet made any arrests. She was charged with resisting arrest. The information has led to the arrest of three suspects.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the middle of a detente in the trade war between the two countries, the US recently coordinated with Canada to arrest the CFO of Huawei, one of China’s biggest companies. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Chinese hackers charged with stealing data from NASA, IBM, and others," 20 Dec. 2018 Which is to say, there is a danger — one roughly comparable to the level of danger for these immigrants in President Obama’s first term, when ICE had broad authority to arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants without criminal records. Dara Lind, Vox, "The shift would affect thousands of immigrants who’ve been ordered deported — generally for committing crimes — but not legal immigrants or citizens.," 12 Dec. 2018 Brinkema pressed Townsend for any precedent requiring criminal charges to be unsealed prior to arrest. Matthew Barakat, The Seattle Times, "Judge defers action on request to unseal Assange charges," 27 Nov. 2018 People of all ethnicities use and purchase cannabis at about the same rate, but people of color are much more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "6 Things to Know Before You Even Set Foot in a Marijuana Dispensary," 24 Oct. 2018 In a statement, the city of Chesapeake noted their policy has been in place for 45 years, and during that time, nobody has been arrested or charged for violating it. Megan Friedman, House Beautiful, "A Town in Virginia Has Set A Strict Age Limit For Trick-or-Treaters," 11 Oct. 2018 Michael Ketterer, who placed fifth on this season of America’s Got Talent, has been arrested for domestic violence, TMZ reported Friday. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "‘America’s Got Talent’ Standout Michael Ketterer Has Been Arrested for Domestic Violence," 21 Sep. 2018 Betty Weisweiller, who had refused to accompany them, was arrested in her home in nearby Antibes. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Tragic, Fascinating History of Santo Sospir," 13 Aug. 2018 In the intense season 2 finale, Archie is arrested for the murder of Cassidy Bullock, the kid André killed when Bughead and Varchie visited Veronica’s parents’ lake house. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Here's Everything We Know About "Riverdale" Season 3 So Far!," 23 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Family money could help in a national campaign, and the Senate campaign may (or may not) have helped clear the decks on a 1998 drunk-driving arrest. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2020 Presidential Race—So Far," 3 Jan. 2019 High drama surrounded the arrests as the authorities blocked roads, shut down mobile and internet service and deployed thousands of officers to thwart supporters of the Sharifs from reaching the airport. Salman Masood, New York Times, "Nawaz Sharif Is Arrested on Return to Pakistan, Amid Turmoil and Bloodshed," 13 July 2018 The investigation is ongoing and police said no interviews concerning the arrests will be granted. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Stormy Daniels Charges Have Been Dismissed, Attorney Says," 12 July 2018 The Trump administration hasn’t yet increased arrests or deportations beyond circa-2011 levels. Dara Lind, Vox, "The shift would affect thousands of immigrants who’ve been ordered deported — generally for committing crimes — but not legal immigrants or citizens.," 12 Dec. 2018 In a letter announcing the group’s mission last month, organizers promised that hundreds of concerned citizens—scientists and academics, students, parents, artists, teachers, lawyers—had pledged to risk arrest in nonviolent direct action. Matt Stuart, Vogue, "“Sorry, We Won’t Be Long”: Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down London to Demand Climate Action," 22 Nov. 2018 As a result, the show cuts several of the book's meaty pre-discovery scenes of Camille and Amma attempting to find normalcy in St. Louis following Adora's arrest for the deaths of Marian, Ann, and Natalie, and the poisonings of Amma and Camille. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gillian Flynn Breaks Down the Differences Between the Sharp Objects Finale & Her Book," 27 Aug. 2018 The effort allows suspects with open warrants to get their cases resolved with no immediate financial cost and no risk of arrest. Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle, "Harris DA to host Make it Right event to resolve open misdemeanor warrants," 13 July 2018 Sligh was ordered to wear an ankle monitor following that arrest. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Actor convicted of child molestation in Cherokee County," 13 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of arrest

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for arrest

Verb and Noun

Middle English aresten, from Anglo-French arester to stop, arrest, from Vulgar Latin *arrestare, from Latin ad- + restare to remain — more at rest

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arrest

Statistics for arrest

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arrest

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for arrest

arrest

verb

English Language Learners Definition of arrest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use the power of the law to take and keep (someone, such as a criminal)

: to stop the progress or movement of (something)

: to attract and hold the attention of (someone or something)

arrest

noun

English Language Learners Definition of arrest (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of legally taking and keeping someone (such as a criminal) : the act of arresting someone

medical : an occurrence in which a part of the body suddenly stops working

arrest

verb
ar·​rest | \ ə-ˈrest \
arrested; arresting

Kids Definition of arrest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to take or keep control over (someone) by authority of law She was arrested on suspicion of robbery.
2 : to stop the progress or movement of : check arrest a disease
3 : to attract and hold the attention of But I was suddenly arrested by a sight that only Grandma and I saw.— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

arrest

noun

Kids Definition of arrest (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of taking or holding a person by authority of law
ar·​rest | \ ə-ˈrest \

Medical Definition of arrest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bring to a standstill or state of inactivity arrested tuberculosis arrested labor

intransitive verb

: to undergo cardiac arrest the…patient has arrested while being transported to surgery— Wayne Fields

Other Words from arrest

arrestment noun

arrest

noun

Medical Definition of arrest (Entry 2 of 2)

: the condition of being stopped developmental arrest — see cardiac arrest — compare cure sense 1, remission

Keep scrolling for more

arrest

noun
ar·​rest | \ ə-ˈrest\

Legal Definition of arrest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the restraining and seizure of a person whether or not by physical force by someone acting under authority (as a police officer) in connection with a crime in such a manner that it is reasonable under the circumstances for the person to believe that he or she is not free to leave — see also miranda warnings, probable cause at cause sense 2, warrant — compare stop
citizenʼs arrest
: an arrest made not by a law officer but by any citizen who derives the authority to arrest from the fact of being a citizen

Note: Under common law, a citizen may make an arrest for any felony actually committed, or for a breach of the peace committed in his or her presence.

civil arrest
: the arrest and detention of a defendant in a civil suit until he or she posts bail or pays the judgment — see also capias ad respondendum

Note: Civil arrest is restricted or prohibited in most states.

custodial arrest
: an arrest of a person accompanied by or followed by taking the person into custody
false arrest
: an arrest made without legal authority

called also unlawful arrest

Note: If a person is taken into custody, no matter how briefly, a false arrest is also false imprisonment.

pretext arrest \ ˈprē-​ˌtekst-​ \
: the arrest of a person for a minor crime (as a traffic violation) for the real purpose of getting an opportunity to investigate (as through a search) the person's possible involvement in a more serious crime for which there are no lawful grounds to make an arrest

called also pretextual arrest

unlawful arrest
: false arrest in this entry
under arrest
: in the condition of being restrained under legal authority

Legal Definition of arrest (Entry 2 of 2)

: to place under arrest

Other Words from arrest

arrester also arrestor noun

History and Etymology for arrest

Noun

Middle French arest, from arester to stop, seize, arrest, ultimately from Latin ad to, at + restare to stay

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on arrest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arrest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arrest

Spanish Central: Translation of arrest

Nglish: Translation of arrest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arrest for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about arrest

Comments on arrest

What made you want to look up arrest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!