arson

noun
ar·​son | \ ˈär-sᵊn How to pronounce arson (audio) \

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 \ ˈär-​sᵊn-​ist How to pronounce arsonist (audio) \ noun
arsonous \ ˈär-​sᵊn-​əs How to pronounce arsonous (audio) \ 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 While the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, some nights devolved into confrontations with police and bursts of looting, rioting, and arson, leading to what Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area cities, restaurants boarding up — bracing for potential election-night unrest," 30 Oct. 2020 That leads to a series of displays of juvenile delinquency — from arson to teen drinking to armed robbery — each of which ostensibly carries its own inherent messages. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "The truth about ‘The True Adventures of Wolfboy’: Don't expect a scary Halloween movie," 27 Oct. 2020 Just over a week ago, a ballot box in Los Angeles County was burned in what authorities say may have been arson. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Some O.C. ballot boxes shuttered by blazes, officials say," 27 Oct. 2020 Rittenhouse, carrying an AR-15 rifle, was among several groups of armed men who descended on Kenosha during ongoing protests over the Blake shooting, which had devolved into arson and looting. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kyle Rittenhouse released on $2 million bail," 20 Nov. 2020 The sheriff’s office detective who authored the affidavit, for a warrant requested Oct. 14, cited evidence of first-degree arson and, potentially, homicide. oregonlive, "Fatal Vancouver-area house fire investigated as arson, possible homicide," 19 Nov. 2020 Most charges in the almost 300 federal protest cases involve arson or assaulting police officers, as do the state and municipal cases. New York Times, "Why Charges Against Protesters Are Being Dismissed by the Thousands," 19 Nov. 2020 Three people, identified only as German citizens, two aged 23 and one 26, were arrested on suspicion of organized robbery and arson. David Rising, Star Tribune, "Raids, arrests as German police probe Dresden jewelry theft," 17 Nov. 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Friday that federal law enforcement agencies were investigating the issue, although the Washington County Sheriff's Office already claimed the incident was arson. Sam Dorman, Fox News, "Twitter says Antifa-aligned group cheering alleged arson at police officer's home is allowed," 17 Nov. 2020

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

borrowed from Anglo-French arsun, arson, arsoun "fire, willful setting of a destructive fire, burn on the skin, branding," going back to Gallo-Romance *ārsiōn-, ārsiō, from Latin ārdēre (perfect and supine stem ārs-) "to catch fire, burn, blaze" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at ardent

Note: Outside of Anglo-French, arsun, arson (with a by-form arsion) is sparsely attested in Old and Middle French. Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch notes that medieval attestations and later survivals are markedly regional (west and southwest France, including Normandy and Francophone Brittany. — The normal suffix of verbal action in later classical Latin and Late Latin was -tiōn-, -tiō, added to the verbal base (competing with the u-stem suffix -tus more common in earlier Latin), with the exception of a small number of formations with -iōn-, -iō (see condition entry 1, legion entry 1, region). Because the phonetic stem changes conditioned by the verbal adjective/past participle suffix -tus (Indo-European *-tos) are identical to those conditioned by -tiōn-, -tiō, new formations with this suffix in post-classical Latin and proto-Romance copy the morphophonemic alterations of the verbal adjective. This is evident in *ārsiō, formed from ārdēre. Note that the perfect ārsī and presumed (?) supine ārsum are most likely themselves analogical forms based on second-conjugation verbs such as mansī, mansum (from manēre "to wait, remain"), given that ārdēre (from āridus, ārdus "dry") cannot be of great antiquity in Latin.

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Time Traveler for arson

Time Traveler

The first known use of arson was circa 1680

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Statistics for arson

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Arson.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arson. Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for arson

arson

noun
How to pronounce arson (audio)

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 How to pronounce arson (audio) \

Kids Definition of arson

: the illegal burning of a building or other property

arson

noun
ar·​son | \ ˈärs-ᵊn How to pronounce arson (audio) \

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 How to pronounce arsonist (audio) \ 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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