mil·​i·​ta·​rize | \ˈmi-lə-tə-ˌrīz \
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 \ noun

Examples of militarize in a Sentence

militarize a country's foreign policy

Recent Examples on the Web

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 President Trump's rhetoric has indicated further support for militarizing the drug war. Jasmine Garsd, USA TODAY, "Women are filling Mexico's prisons at an alarming rate," 4 Apr. 2018 China, which participated in RIMPAC 2014 and 2016, was disinvited from the 2018 exercise after laying claim to and militarizing the South China Sea. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China's Not Coming to America's Big Pacific War Games This Time," 28 June 2018 To reinforce its claim, the Chinese government has reclaimed and militarized a series of islands across the contested region, provoking regular criticism from the United States and other regional countries. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Chinese missile launchers reappear on disputed South China Sea island," 11 June 2018 China clearly intends to militarize commercial facilities. WSJ, "Navy Faces Global Chinese Maritime Threat," 21 May 2018 Mattis called out Chinese president Xi Jinping for falsely promising in 2015 that Beijing would never militarize the Spratly Islands, which are occupied by Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and China. Carl Prine,, "Mattis fires verbal broadsides at China, North Korea in Singapore security summit speech," 1 June 2018 And Trump has yet to use the platform of the presidency to rally support for a national requirement, opting instead to push for building a wall, militarizing the border and stepping up deportations. Tracy Jan,, "GOP lawmakers have gone quiet on this popular tool to curb illegal immigration," 22 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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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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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

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playful or foolish behavior

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