mi·li·tia | \mə-ˈli-shə \

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

The United States has been backing and arming the militia to combat the Islamic State group in Syria. Fox News, "The Latest: UN 'deeply concerned' about Syrians in the south," 21 June 2018 Pro-government militias set out to crush the student rebellion at the UNAN, one of the last strongholds of open resistance in the capital. Joshua Partlow,, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 The Golden Triangle is a smuggling center, and a sanctuary for members of various ethnic militias that have spent decades pushing for autonomy from a government in Myanmar that routinely represses them. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 That conflict escalated into open fighting between colonial militias and the British army at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, in April 1775. Joshua Eaton, Teen Vogue, "Independence Day and Fourth of July Holiday: What It Means and Why We Celebrate," 2 July 2018 These are the little towns where militias crop up, the places that went 60 and 70 and 80 percent for Trump. Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 Not all of these men who led rebellions received formal trials; for example, the U.S. army and Louisiana militia that put down the German Coast rebellion summarily executed Deslondes. Time Staff, Time, "President Trump Is Looking for Suggestions for Pardons. So We Asked 7 Historians for Their Thoughts," 21 June 2018 In 2016, militia forces from the city of Misrata, apparently seeking legitimacy, declared their allegiance to the Government of National Accord and with 6,000 fighters advanced to retake Sirte from isis. William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, "An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS," 21 June 2018 In Iraq, the Saeroon coalition led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the notorious former leader of the Mahdi Army militia, won the plurality of seats. Renad Mansour, Washington Post, "An emerging populism is sweeping the Middle East," 11 July 2018

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

9 Oct 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of militia

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on militia

Spanish Central: Translation of militia

Nglish: Translation of militia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of militia for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about militia

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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