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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of militarize

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about militarize

Share militarize

Statistics for militarize

Last Updated

4 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for militarize

The first known use of militarize was in 1856

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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).


marked by fawning attentiveness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!