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 Let’s remember: Communist China steals our jobs, technology and intellectual property, is militarizing the South China Sea, intentionally selling fentanyl to the U.S. and is one of the world’s worst human-rights violators. WSJ, "Peace Corps in China Gave No Value for U.S.," 30 Jan. 2020 The region is one of the most heavily militarized in the world, patrolled by soldiers and paramilitary police. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pakistan PM warns of ‘bloodbath’ in Kashmir; India PM silent," 27 Sep. 2019 Not so lucky Not all swatting victims are so fortunate, as US police are heavily armed, increasingly all-out militarized, and often all too willing to fire. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "$3 million Fortnite winner—and his parents—become latest swatting targets," 12 Aug. 2019 Hutchison said the biggest risk out there was currently Russia, with a militarizing China presenting a potential threat as well. David Meyer, Fortune, "U.S. Has Ukraine’s Back, NATO Ambassador Claims as Impeachment Battle Rages in Washington," 18 Nov. 2019 First launched in August 1995, Losharik has played a role in Russia's efforts to further militarize the Arctic and assert Russia's economic claims to the Arctic seabed as well. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Russian spy sub crew prevented nuclear accident at cost of their lives," 8 July 2019 First, the Chinese overreached and systematically began militarizing neutral islands in the South China Sea. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "How China ‘Woke’ America," 3 Oct. 2019 Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015 that China had no intention to militarize the structures. David Tweed | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Why the South China Sea Fuels U.S.-China Tensions," 13 Feb. 2019 Giammattei has sought to win over urban voters with a pledge to militarize public security to reduce crime. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, "Guatemala, simmering with discontent, shows little enthusiasm for the presidential election," 9 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for militarize

Time Traveler

The first known use of militarize was in 1856

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Statistics for militarize

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Militarize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for militarize


How to pronounce militarize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of militarize

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on militarize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for militarize

Spanish Central: Translation of militarize

Britannica English: Translation of militarize for Arabic Speakers

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