mil·​i·​ta·​rize | \ ˈmi-lə-tə-ˌrīz How to pronounce militarize (audio) \
militarized; militarizing

Definition of militarize

transitive verb

1 : to give a military character to
2 : to equip with military forces and defenses
3 : to adapt for military use

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Other Words from militarize

militarization \ ˌmi-​lə-​t(ə-​)rə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce militarization (audio) \ noun

Examples of militarize in a Sentence

militarize a country's foreign policy

Recent Examples on the Web

President Xi’s promise to President Obama in 2015 not to militarize the islands had become meaningless. Jim Geraghty, National Review, "Jim Sciutto’s Quiet Indictment of the Obama Administration," 6 June 2019 This is taxpayer money that has been used to militarize our border at a great cost for a once dynamic border communities and immigrants, human rights. Fox News, "Ken Starr: Impeachment is hell," 11 Sep. 2018 Beijing must not be allowed to militarize this stretch of the Arctic, Mr. Mattis told his Danish counterpart Claus Frederiksen at a meeting in Washington in May, according to officials close to the discussion. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "How the Pentagon Countered China’s Designs on Greenland," 10 Feb. 2019 Inside office suites at the Capitol, many aides watched on TV as the President used a midday event about militarizing space to address the crisis at the border that consumed most of the weekend’s cable segments. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Republican Lawmakers Aren't Backing Trump on Family Separations," 20 June 2018 And more fundamentally, there's the issue of breaking the informal taboo on militarizing space. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Wars' Lite? We Explain Trump's Missile Defense Strategy," 17 Jan. 2019 In a speech at the Pentagon, Pence argued that the nation needs to assert dominance over space and that adversaries—China and Russia to be precise—are already militarizing Earth orbits. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "These are the logos the Trump campaign is offering the Space Force," 9 Aug. 2018 Now, the handover of Hambantota to the Chinese has kept alive concerns about possible military use — particularly as China has continued to militarize island holdings around the South China Sea despite earlier pledges not to. Maria Abi-habib, New York Times, "How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port," 25 June 2018 Still others have accused TriMet of militarizing its security force and unfairly targeting people of color., "Crime increases as TriMet weighs response to fatal MAX attack," 23 May 2018

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

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for militarize

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for militarize

The first known use of militarize was in 1856

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More Definitions for militarize



English Language Learners Definition of militarize

: to put weapons and military forces in (an area)
: to give a military quality or character to (something)

More from Merriam-Webster on militarize

Spanish Central: Translation of militarize

Britannica English: Translation of militarize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on militarize

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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