drag·​net | \ ˈdrag-ˌnet How to pronounce dragnet (audio) \

Definition of dragnet

1a : a net drawn along the bottom of a body of water
b : a net used on the ground (as to capture small game)
2 : a network of measures for apprehension (as of criminals)

Examples of dragnet in a Sentence

Nine suspects were caught in the police dragnet.
Recent Examples on the Web The reality is that Big Government never gives up on the idea of gathering private data with as broad a dragnet as possible. Daniel J. Pilla, National Review, 2 Nov. 2021 And if the evidence is seized improperly, either because the dragnet is overly broad or because of outright investigative abuses, the target of the search typically has an opportunity to challenge it in court. Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2021 Ruiz and 65 others have filed court claims saying the dragnet forfeiture operation is unconstitutional. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2021 Only recently — because of a law passed by the City Council last summer, to police officials’ dismay — did the breadth of the Police Department’s surveillance dragnet begin to become clear. New York Times, 8 Sep. 2021 After being released, Manzo eluded a police dragnet and remained a fugitive for three weeks. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2021 Any dragnet also appears to be mistakenly entangling others who have posted content pushing back against the Taliban. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2021 The dragnet, which was hatched by U.S. and Australian law enforcement authorities, employed at least 9,000 law enforcement officials across the globe and captured some 27 million text messages by alleged criminals. Ben Feuerherd, Fox News, 9 June 2021 The moves cast a spotlight on how some unlikely sources have helped expand a digital dragnet for participants in a siege with deeply online roots, fueled by viral conspiracy theories, organized on social media and live-streamed in real-time. Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2021

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

circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for dragnet

Time Traveler

The first known use of dragnet was circa 1541

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Dictionary Entries Near dragnet



dragnet clause

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Statistics for dragnet

Last Updated

18 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dragnet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dragnet. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for dragnet



English Language Learners Definition of dragnet

: a series of actions that are done by the police in order to catch criminals
: a net that is pulled along the bottom of a river, lake, pond, etc., to search for or collect something


drag·​net | \ ˈdrag-ˌnet How to pronounce dragnet (audio) \

Kids Definition of dragnet

1 : a net that is pulled along the bottom of a body of water in order to catch or find something
2 : a series of actions by police for catching a criminal

More from Merriam-Webster on dragnet

Nglish: Translation of dragnet for Spanish Speakers


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