citizen's arrest

noun

: an arrest made not by a law officer but by a citizen who derives authority from the fact of being a citizen

Examples of citizen's arrest in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to the defense, the three men were attempting a citizen's arrest when Travis, initially with his father and then joined by Bryan, chased Arbery and corralled him with their respective pickups before the scuffle in which Travis shot Arbery three times. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 21 Apr. 2023 The incident occurred around 2 a.m. and the suspect was placed under citizen's arrest by a staff member near the home's service entrance, the spokesperson said. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 17 May 2023 Defense attorneys say the McMichaels, suspecting Arbery of burglary, tried to conduct a citizen's arrest. CNN, 22 Nov. 2021 One prosecutor who examined the case ruled that there wasn't probable cause to arrest Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael, later charged with murder, because the McMichaels believed Arbery had committed a crime and were attempting a citizen's arrest. Jeff Amy, ajc, 28 Feb. 2021 The citizen's arrest law was approved in 1863 to round up escaped slaves and was later used to justify the lynching of Black people. Kate Brumback, ajc, 14 Nov. 2021 This morning the trucker convoy entrapped a tesla driver, supposedly to make a citizen's arrest. Curbed, 22 Mar. 2022 Wisconsin has no specific laws relating to a citizen's arrest. Kelli Arseneau, Journal Sentinel, 12 Oct. 2022 The prosecution's presentation of the evidence and surgically precise cross-examination of Travis McMichael, the shooter, on the stand, left in shreds the preposterous citizen's arrest/self-defense contentions that were raised. Areva Martin, CNN, 24 Nov. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of citizen's arrest was in 1940

Dictionary Entries Near citizen's arrest

Cite this Entry

“Citizen's arrest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/citizen%27s%20arrest. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition

citizen's arrest

see arrest

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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