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

Definition of frisk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

intransitive verb

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



Definition of frisk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of frisking
2a : gambol, romp
b : diversion
c archaic : caper entry 1 sense 3

Other Words from frisk


frisker noun

Synonyms for frisk

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of frisk in a Sentence

Verb carefree kids laughing and frisking about in their backyard Noun fondly remembers the summer before he started college as one long frisk
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The municipality designated the area as a security-risk region, giving police the authority to frisk people preventively. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 3 Jan. 2022 Officers began to pat-frisk the four males surrounding the vehicle, and uncovered a handgun in the waistband of 22-year-old Sekou Sesay of Dorchester, police said., 18 Oct. 2021 On Monday, Sheneen McClain cried reading the independent investigative report that said Colorado police officers involved in her son's death did not have the legal basis to stop, frisk or restrain him. Chris Boyette, CNN, 23 Feb. 2021 Next, the three officers decided to frisk McClain for weapons, which is legally allowed only where there is a belief that safety is in danger, the report states. Chris Boyette, CNN, 23 Feb. 2021 The investigative panel found that the officers had no probable cause to detain and frisk him. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 22 Feb. 2021 Mere lawful detention alone does not bestow the authority to frisk an individual. Arkansas Online, 5 Dec. 2020 Stop and frisk: a legitimate law enforcement tool or an inappropriate use of police power? Arkansas Online, 5 Dec. 2020 One officer approached the boy and asked for his age, and then proceeded to frisk the boy's upper body and waist, the report states. Eric Levenson, CNN, 8 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Whenever police find contraband during an unjustified frisk, any criminal prosecution that might follow could be jeopardized. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 May 2022 Black men were terrorized with, according to The Washington Post, more than 150 stop-and-frisk searches per day, public strip searches, and no-knock intrusions into homes., 13 May 2022 Stop-and-frisk was used to similar effect in poor and minority neighborhoods. Sarah A. Seo, The Atlantic, 22 Apr. 2022 While there have been some successes, the approach has often bred resentment, as methods like stop-and-frisk policing generated antagonism between the police and the communities they were meant to help. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 29 Mar. 2022 The video footage of Gray’s arrest was a gruesome display of stop-and-frisk brutality. Andre Henry, Los Angeles Times, 22 Mar. 2022 For example, Mac compared the slave patrol’s ability to confront formally enslaved Black people to the stop-and-frisk policies still used in many states. NBC News, 4 Mar. 2022 Stop-and-frisk policies allow officers to stop, question and pat down anyone believed to be suspicious. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 14 Feb. 2022 Amnesty International then worked with data scientists to compare this data with statistics on stop, question and frisk policies and demographic data. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 14 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of frisk


1519, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1525, in the meaning defined at sense 2c

History and Etymology for frisk


obsolete frisk lively

Learn More About frisk

Dictionary Entries Near frisk




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for frisk

Cite this Entry

“Frisk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for frisk


\ 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


transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on frisk

Nglish: Translation of frisk for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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