\ 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

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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 His idea for fighting crime is allowing cops to randomly stop people, primarily African Americans, and frisk them without reasonable cause. Dahleen Glanton,, "Column: Inviting Donald Trump to address top cops gathering in Chicago is a slap in the face to our city — an opportunity Trump has been waiting for," 28 Oct. 2019 Williams had stopped Reynolds and was planning to frisk him. Edmund H. Mahony,, "A federal judge is challenging how Connecticut treats its former death row inmates, saying they are held under cruel and unusual conditions," 21 Oct. 2019 Armed men dotted the narrow lane leading to a mosque, frisking visitors out of fear of a second suicide bomber. New York Times, "One Minute It Was an Afghan Wedding. The Next, a Funeral for 63.," 18 Aug. 2019 The law also requires police to collect a wide range of data when officers stop and frisk people or conduct stops, including the person’s race, ethnicity and gender, and duration of the stop. Paul Duggan, Washington Post, "A disproportionate number of D.C. police stops involved African Americans," 9 Sep. 2019 The agents frisked Cruz and other workers and handcuffed and questioned them. Maura Dolan,, "U.S. appeals court cancels deportation of immigrant detained in Van Nuys factory raid," 13 June 2019 In an interview, Baker said the most egregious violations by police were frisking and cuffing Lea without probable cause and extending the search to get a drug-sniffing dog to the scene, which the Supreme Court has held is unconstitutional. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Black teen handcuffed after wide turn sues LMPD for eyeing him as 'perfect target'," 12 June 2019 Police then retook the complex, stopping and frisking the young protesters who remained nearby. Shibani Mahtani,, "Hong Kong police forcibly clear thousands of protesters occupying legislature complex," 1 July 2019 The law also requires D.C. police to collect a wide range of data when officers stop and frisk people or conduct stops, including the person’s race, ethnicity and gender and duration of the stop. Washington Post, "Court orders D.C. officers to start collecting mandated racial data in police stops," 27 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And his mayoral record, including his support for stop-and-frisk policing and his championing of charter schools, has the potential to alienate pillars of the Democratic Party’s political base. Alexander Burns, New York Times, "Michael Bloomberg Actively Prepares to Enter 2020 Presidential Race," 7 Nov. 2019 Stop-and-frisk policing has reduced dramatically under de Blasio, but BLM protesters are upset that the officer who killed Eric Garner is still on NYPD payroll, five years after Garner’s death, and that de Blasio hasn’t taken a stronger stance. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, "Bill de Blasio is running for president. But can he do his day job?," 31 July 2019 Biden hit Booker, the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, with an accusation about the Newark Police Department engaging in stop-and-frisk. CBS News, "Top takeaways from Wednesday night's Democratic primary debate," 1 Aug. 2019 During an investigation at 636 Morton St. in Mattapan around 10:51 p.m., officers conducted a pat frisk on Romanni Nettles, 18, of Woburn, Boston police said in a statement., "Police arrested two teenagers Monday night in Mattapan after recovering a loaded gun and chasing down one of the suspects, police said.," 11 Sep. 2019 Aaron Smith, a local police officer, is accused of murdering Gregory Zdanis Gunn after a random stop-and-frisk in the city in the early-morning hours one day in February 2016. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "Johnson: A charged police officer, a change of venue to ... Simi Valley, AL?," 6 Sep. 2019 Following a court ruling and a policy shift, the city dramatically reduced officers’ use of stop and frisk, a practice in which officers stop people on the streets and search them for weapons. Washington Post, "Where Garner died, changes in policing win little applause," 21 Aug. 2019 Biden tried to turn the tables on Booker, taking aim at him for the Newark Police Department embracing stop-and-frisk policies when Booker was mayor. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "5 things we learned from the Detroit Democratic debates," 1 Aug. 2019 Don Wilson, who asked that aldermen discuss stop and frisk policies by police. Genevieve Bookwalter,, "Black residents in Evanston subjected to more stop-and-frisk encounters than any other group, police chief says," 27 Mar. 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 2c

History and Etymology for frisk


obsolete frisk lively

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Statistics for frisk

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for frisk

The first known use of frisk was in 1519

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More Definitions for frisk


How to pronounce frisk (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frisk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frisk

Spanish Central: Translation of frisk

Nglish: Translation of frisk for Spanish Speakers

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