arson

noun
ar·​son | \ˈär-sᵊn \

Definition of arson 

: the willful or malicious burning of property (such as a building) especially with criminal or fraudulent intent Arson was determined to be the cause of the fire.

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Other Words from arson

arsonist \-​ist \ noun
arsonous \-​əs \ adjective

Examples of arson in a Sentence

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but investigators suspect arson. The town has suffered a rash of arson attacks. The town has suffered a rash of arsons.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Paul Caneiro was arrested last week and initially charged with aggravated arson for torching his own home in Ocean Township, N.J., while his wife and two daughters slept inside. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "New Jersey Man Charged With Murdering His Brother, Sister-in-Law and Their Two Kids," 29 Nov. 2018 Editor’s note: The Seattle Fire Department ruled the fire an arson Monday afternoon after this story’s publication. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Cause of massive North Queen Anne lumber yard fire remains under investigation," 13 Nov. 2018 John Abatzoglou, a climatologist at the University of Idaho who studies wildfires and is an author of the PNAS study, noted that some of the fires in California last year ignited in multiple places around the same time, hinting at arson. Umair Irfan, Vox, "California’s wildfires are hardly “natural” — humans made them worse at every step," 12 Nov. 2018 Has Lee Chang-dong ever indicated why Burning focuses on greenhouse arson instead of barns? Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Steven Yeun on Burning, The Walking Dead, and changing roles for Asian-Americans," 4 Nov. 2018 He was charged with aggravated arson for allegedly setting fire to the Halloween section of a local Walmart, according to The Times-Picayune. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "A Teen Who Allegedly Set Fire to a Walmart Halloween Section Turned Himself In," 27 Sep. 2018 Thu Hong Nguyen, 46, was convicted in July on two counts each of second-degree murder, arson and assault, the Kansas City Star reported. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "'Serial arsonist' gets 74 years for blaze that killed 2 firefighters," 22 Sep. 2018 Part of the Coral Ridge Isles neighborhood was closed to traffic while a hazardous-materials team and a bomb-and-arson squad robot checked the house. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Two arrested, pot plants seized, officers recovering after two raids," 13 July 2018 The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms. BostonGlobe.com, "President Trump pardons ranchers in case that inspired 2016 occupation," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arson.' 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 arson

circa 1680, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arson

Anglo-French arsoun, from ars, past participle of arder, ardre to burn, from Latin ardēre — more at ardor

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Dictionary Entries near arson

Ars Magna

ars nova

arsoite

arson

arsonate

arsonic acid

arsono

Statistics for arson

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arson

The first known use of arson was circa 1680

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More Definitions for arson

arson

noun

English Language Learners Definition of arson

: the illegal burning of a building or other property : the crime of setting fire to something

arson

noun
ar·​son | \ˈär-sᵊn \

Kids Definition of arson

: the illegal burning of a building or other property

arson

noun
ar·​son | \ˈärs-ᵊn \

Legal Definition of arson 

: the act or crime of willfully, wrongfully, and unjustifiably setting property on fire often for the purpose of committing fraud (as on an insurance company)

Other Words from arson

arsonist \-​ist \ noun

History and Etymology for arson

Anglo-French arsoun, alteration of Old French arsin, literally, conflagration, from ars, past participle of ardre to burn

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More from Merriam-Webster on arson

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arson

Spanish Central: Translation of arson

Nglish: Translation of arson for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arson for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about arson

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