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

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
3 : a private group of armed individuals that operates as a paramilitary force and is typically motivated by a political or religious ideology specifically : such a group that aims to defend individual rights against government authority that is perceived as oppressive

Examples of militia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In addition to Mastriano’s backing, Cox touts the endorsement of Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers, who is a member of the Oath Keepers militia, whose top lieutenants have been indicted for seditious conspiracy for their role in January 6. Sarah Posner, The New Republic, 25 July 2022 Revere wasn’t court-martialed, but he was charged with disobedience and cowardice and kicked out of the militia. Globe Staff,, 19 July 2022 Ayers, who was not affiliated with either group, testified alongside Jason Van Tatenhove, a former ally of the Oath Keepers militia. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 12 July 2022 In recent weeks, authorities have arrested thousands of people in the Amhara region, including members of the Fano militia who were instrumental in helping Mr. Abiy fight the war in Tigray. New York Times, 19 June 2022 The only other defendants in the Capitol riot investigation to have faced a seditious conspiracy charge so far are Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers militia, and 10 of his subordinates. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 7 June 2022 The Reffitts hosted a mixer for the local branch of the militia at their home, with brisket, potato salad, and beer. Andrea Bernstein, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 Morgan was born in 1735 and was an officer of the Virginia militia at the start of the Revolutionary War. CBS News, 28 Mar. 2022 In a video shared on Telegram, Kadyrov is seen speaking with members of the Chechen militia who are fighting alongside Russian troops in Ukraine. Forbes Staff Reports, Forbes, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of militia

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for militia

Latin, military service, from milit-, miles

Learn More About militia

Time Traveler for militia

Time Traveler

The first known use of militia was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near militia




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for militia

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Militia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for militia


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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