\ 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

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Other Words from frisk


frisker noun

Synonyms for frisk

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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 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 In 2016, Philly For REAL Justice launched their #RizzoDown campaign, gathering every Thursday from 4 to 6 PM in front of the municipal building to call for removal of the Rizzo statue and an end to stop and frisk., 3 June 2020 Muslims were also frisked before and after services. Vanessa Taylor, The New Republic, 23 Apr. 2020 The landmark case found that the Fourth Amendment is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks them without probable cause. Fox News, 11 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun De Blasio had won election promising universal pre-K and an end to racist stop-and-frisk policing. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 5 June 2021 Like his opponents, Mr. Adams opposes widespread stop and frisk. Mene Ukueberuwa, WSJ, 4 June 2021 He has been directly attacked about stop and frisk. New York Times, 2 June 2021 Few issues have galvanized public outrage against abusive policing in New York like stop-and-frisk. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 22 May 2021 Thus, reducing the use of stop-and-frisk procedures may improve public opinions and perceptions of police. Jessica Finkeldey, The Conversation, 18 May 2021 At one point, Mr. Adams was accused of supporting NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics that were found unconstitutional by a federal judge. Rich Calder, WSJ, 16 May 2021 In New York, the police union more or less declared war on Mayor Bill de Blasio for wanting to rein in stop-and-frisk policies and for speaking out against the police killing of Eric Garner. Steve Volk, Rolling Stone, 12 May 2021 Stop-and-frisk sweeps by cops can get guns off the streets, Herrmann said. Bryn Stole,, 7 May 2021

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 2c

History and Etymology for frisk


obsolete frisk lively

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Statistics for frisk

Cite this Entry

“Frisk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on frisk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frisk

Nglish: Translation of frisk for Spanish Speakers


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