\ 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 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the time of the attacks, the conversation around law enforcement was trending toward stricter guidelines for equitable policing -- including halting some of the most invasive tactics like stop-and-frisk. Josh Margolin, ABC News, 10 Sep. 2021 Ligon said that under Florida’s stop and frisk law, after Brown identified himself and officers determined there was no reason to arrest him, any police interaction should have ended. Grace Toohey,, 11 Aug. 2021 At a 2014 public safety committee meeting, shortly after protests in Ferguson, Mo., spread to other cities, the D.C. Council began examining city police interactions with Black residents and questioning procedures such as stop and frisk. Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2021 The decision allowed stop and frisk to continue but with new limits. Jim Sciutto, CNN, 22 June 2021 Yet even some Black legislators who have endorsed Mr. Adams disagree with his stance on stop and frisk. New York Times, 15 June 2021 Adams is a former Republican who would take us back to the era of stop and frisk. Marisa Carroll, Curbed, 8 June 2021 But not everyone was persuaded by Nutter’s justification of stop-and-frisk. ProPublica, 30 July 2021 But it’s Bratton himself who displays an almost willful ignorance of context, as in his qualified defense of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice, which a federal judge found to be racially discriminatory. Washington Post, 30 July 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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Cite this Entry

“Frisk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 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


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


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