mi·​li·​tia | \ mə-ˈli-shə How to pronounce militia (audio) \

Definition of militia

1a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency The militia was called to quell the riot.
b : a body of citizens organized for military service
2 : the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

Examples of militia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Stories of returnees being labeled as sympathetic to the opposition and killed by pro-government militias haunt those thinking about going back home. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "Germany Discusses Lifting Ban on Deporting Syrians," 16 Nov. 2018 Protest activists have described a campaign of intimidation and arbitrary detentions by the powerful militias and political groups that control Basra, a city of more than 2 million people in southern Iraq's Shiite Muslim heartland. Fox News, "Iraqi activist shot dead in tense southern city of Basra," 25 Sep. 2018 Unfortunately, she was only promoted to colonel by General Jesús Agustín Castro and her all-female militia was disbanded for being just that, a female brigade, according to Soldaderas in the Mexican Military. Teen Vogue, "Mexican Revolutionary Petra Herrera Posed as a Man to Fight for Her Country," 1 Apr. 2019 Iran is slowly turning Syria into another Lebanon, a forward base for its Shiite militias and armaments with which to attack Israel when the opportunity presents itself. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Pompeo’s Words, Trump’s Withdrawal," 11 Jan. 2019 Business daily Kommersant reported that Russia also may respond to the downing of its plane by becoming more reluctant to engage Iran and its proxy Hezbollah militia, to help assuage Israeli worries. Vladimir Isachenkov, Fox News, "Russia to study Israeli data related to downed plane," 19 Sep. 2018 Syria’s Kurds, who formed their own militia and local administration after government forces pulled out of Syria’s northeast, have relied on U.S. stewardship to form a rump state in territories east of the Euphrates River. Nabih Bulos,, "As a government offensive bears down on them, Syrian rebels expect no help from onetime ally U.S.," 5 July 2018 Investigators also had video footage of Mr. Khattala with a gun at the diplomatic facility stormed by members of his militia. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "Benghazi Attacker Gets 22 Years, Disappointing Prosecutors Who Sought Life," 27 June 2018 Fighters with the Arakan Army, the ethnic militia, ambushed a police station in an hour-long attack Saturday night that killed the nine officers and left another missing, according to spokesmen from the police and government. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Myanmar Ambush Kills Nine Police, Highlights Increasing Violence in Troubled State," 10 Mar. 2019

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

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for militia

Latin, military service, from milit-, miles

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Statistics for militia

Last Updated

8 May 2019

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Time Traveler for militia

The first known use of militia was in 1625

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English Language Learners Definition of militia

: a group of people who are not part of the armed forces of a country but are trained like soldiers


mi·​li·​tia | \ mə-ˈli-shə How to pronounce militia (audio) \

Kids Definition of militia

: a group of citizens with some military training who are called into service only in emergencies

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Comments on militia

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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