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

Meanwhile, the army’s own Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement of 2015 excludes the biggest militias. The Economist, "A Chinese development scheme complicates Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts," 29 Aug. 2019 Kagame’s army joined forces with the militia of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, the former Marxist guerrilla soldier who had trained alongside Che Guevara in the mid-Sixties and was later involved in drug trafficking. Maggie Calt, Harper's magazine, "Brutal from the Beginning," 22 July 2019 The threat posed by hate groups, white supremacists, and militias has been highlighted by two recent mass shootings labeled as domestic terrorism by federal authorities., "Lindsey Graham warns Trump about Afghanistan drawdown," 26 Aug. 2019 Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent military advisers and militias to aid his forces. Washington Post, "The Latest: Lebanese PM condemns Israeli ‘aggression’," 25 Aug. 2019 This continues to drive Central Americans to our borders to seek refuge from gangs and militias. John Delaney, Fortune, "John Delaney: My Plan for Stabilizing Central America and Ending Our Border Crisis," 24 Aug. 2019 Others are exposed to revenge attacks from embittered neighbours or Syria’s many unruly militias. The Economist, "Politicians are stoking anti-refugee sentiment in Lebanon," 22 Aug. 2019 With the Myanmar Army battling various ethnic militias and committing what the United Nations says are war crimes, peace and security are unknown commodities. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Teenage Brides Trafficked to China Reveal Ordeal: ‘Ma, I’ve Been Sold’," 17 Aug. 2019 Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys, Three Percenters militia group and others gathered downtown, some also wearing body armor and helmets. Gillian Flaccus, The Denver Post, "At least 13 people arrested at Portland, Oregon, protest," 17 Aug. 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

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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