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

Police said the attack targeted Malik Toor, a pro-government militia commander, who was killed in the blast. Amir Shah,, "American service member killed in Afghanistan — Taliban claim responsibility," 13 July 2019 Police said the attack targeted Malik Toor, a pro-government militia commander, who was killed in the blast. Amir Shah,, "US service member killed in action in Afghanistan," 13 July 2019 Qaddafi Comeback Saif al-Islam, one-time Libyan heir apparent, was held by the Zintan militia in western Libya after his capture in the 2011 war that toppled and killed his father. Samer Khalil Al-atrush, Time, "Libyan Security Forces Arrest Two Russians Allegedly Attempting to Interfere in Elections," 5 July 2019 The early American republic maintained only a token military force in peacetime, and instead relied heavily on state militias for national defense. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Tanks, But No Tanks," 4 July 2019 In addition to the risk of infection, the workers also face a wholly different prospect of death at the hands of armed rebel militias that dominate DRC’s infected northeast region. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "As Ebola takes hold in DRC, a Nigerian doctor reminds us of the sacrifices made in West Africa’s crisis," 21 June 2019 The Houthis, a Yemeni Shia militia that receives assistance from Iran, have launched several attacks on Saudi infrastructure with missiles and drones, striking an oil pipeline and an international airport, and missing a desalination plant. The Economist, "Donald Trump orders air strikes on Iran—then cancels them," 21 June 2019 Finally, Kurdish troops took us in the back of a pickup truck to their command post, then to Christian militia commanders near the front lines. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "Behind the story: A Marine suicide, and then a reckoning," 20 June 2019 Many villages have Dozos, and some are now armed and organized like a militia. National Geographic, "Six years after Islamist militants were routed, Mali still struggles with violence," 13 June 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

17 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for militia

The first known use of militia was in 1625

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More Definitions for militia



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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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