\ ˈfrisk How to pronounce frisk (audio) \
frisked; frisking; frisks

Definition of frisk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to leap, skip, or dance in a lively or playful way : gambol

transitive verb

: to search (a person) for something (such as a concealed weapon) by running the hand rapidly over the clothing and through the pockets



Definition of frisk (Entry 2 of 2)

1a archaic : caper
b : gambol, romp
c : diversion
2 : an act of frisking

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Other Words from frisk


frisker noun

Synonyms for frisk

Synonyms: Verb

caper, cavort, disport, frolic, gambol, lark, rollick, romp, sport

Synonyms: Noun

binge, fling, frolic, gambol, idyll (also idyl), lark, ploy, revel, rollick, romp, spree

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Examples of frisk in a Sentence


carefree kids laughing and frisking about in their backyard


fondly remembers the summer before he started college as one long frisk

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The ministry accused Turkey of subjecting Naeh to a particularly severe security screening at the airport in Istanbul and inviting local Turkish media to capture the humiliation of him being frisked and forced to remove his shoes and jacket. Washington Post, "Israel-Turkey spat escalates over Gaza violence," 16 May 2018 The elevator opens and more cops come out, approaching Johnson and frisking him. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "4 Arizona Officers on Paid Leave After Video Shows Them Brutally Pummeling Man Who Was on His Cellphone," 6 June 2018 The Coast Guard rescued the group — then immediately detained and frisked Sánchez and his friends and reported them to ICE. Kavitha Surana,, "How immigration officers can get away with racial profiling," 8 June 2018 Every year, more than 75 percent of the people who were stopped and frisked by the New York City Police Department were black or Latino. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Unprotected, Underserved: The (False) Criminalization of Black America," 25 June 2018 Many were indignant but not surprised that this had happened in Philadelphia, where police have been criticized for disproportionately stopping and frisking black residents. NBC News, "As Starbucks closes for bias training, black-owned coffee shops open their doors wider," 29 May 2018 The ministry accused Turkey of subjecting Naeh to a particularly severe security screening at the airport in Istanbul and inviting local Turkish media to capture the humiliation of him being frisked and forced to remove his shoes and jacket. Aron Heller, Fox News, "Israel-Turkey spat escalates over Gaza violence," 17 May 2018 Officers said they were particularly upset by the way Cook and his command staff treated Brandon Smith, a street-level officer who stopped, handcuffed and frisked a black man who turned out to be the chief’s brother. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Shake-up exposes rift in Alexandria police department over discipline," 14 May 2018 Embellished Narratives In recent years, the number of times police stopped and frisked pedestrians has declined precipitously. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem," 18 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

President Donald Trump in a speech Monday criticized a separate 2015 agreement between Chicago and the ACLU curbing stop-and-frisk procedures by police. Michael Tarm, The Seattle Times, "Trump administration opposes Chicago police reform plan," 9 Oct. 2018 There continue to be significant racial disparities in stop and frisks, and the police have a long history of monitoring African-American activists that reaches from the Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "Can 30,000 Cameras Help Solve Chicago’s Crime Problem?," 26 May 2018 While talking about issues like stop and frisk and the school-to-prison pipeline, Kanye asked Trump to grant clemency to Larry Hoover — the founder and leader of the Gangster Disciples, one of Chicago’s most notorious street gangs. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Kanye West's Meeting With Donald Trump in 6 of Its Strangest Moments," 11 Oct. 2018 Officers ordered Philyaw to exit the car and conducted a pat and frisk, quickly locating a gun in his right pocket. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "Boston police seize 3 unlicensed guns in 7 hours," 3 May 2018 If any of the officers are found liable, another trial will be scheduled, one that could represent the biggest challenge to New York policing practices since stop-and-frisk. Alan Feuer And Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "The Arrest Was a Bust. The Officers Got Overtime Anyway.," 19 Feb. 2018 Flynn denied that his department practiced stop-and-frisk and defended high-volume traffic stops as effective in reducing nonfatal shootings, robberies and car thefts. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "City of Milwaukee aims to cap consultant fees for stop-and-frisk lawsuit at $1.5 million," 2 July 2018 Sunday was the 50th anniversary of the Terry v. Ohio Supreme Court decision that legalized the practice of stop-and-frisk. Aubrey Nagle,, "How local towns are changing, Trump's war of words, Philly celebrates Pride | Morning Newsletter," 11 June 2018 Racial profiling, disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates, and biased apprehension tactics such as stop-and-frisk work to make black immigrants especially vulnerable to draconian immigration enforcement tactics. Shamira Ibrahim, Daily Intelligencer, "Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants," 13 July 2018

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


1519, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for frisk


obsolete frisk lively

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Dictionary Entries near frisk


Frisian Islands






Statistics for frisk

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Time Traveler for frisk

The first known use of frisk was in 1519

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More Definitions for frisk



English Language Learners Definition of frisk

: to pass your hands over (someone) to search for something that may be hidden in clothing


\ ˈfrisk How to pronounce frisk (audio) \
frisked; frisking

Kids Definition of frisk

1 : to move around in a lively or playful way
2 : to search a person quickly for something that may be hidden

Legal Definition of frisk

: to run the hand rapidly over the outer clothing of (a suspect) for the purpose of finding concealed weapons — compare search

Note: The purpose of frisking a suspect is to insure the safety of an officer making an investigation against concealed weapons, not to uncover evidence. The officer must be justified in his or her encounter of the suspect and must have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed. The scope of the frisk must be limited to the discovery of weapons.

Other Words from frisk

frisk noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on frisk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frisk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frisk

Spanish Central: Translation of frisk

Nglish: Translation of frisk for Spanish Speakers

Comments on frisk

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


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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