probable cause


Definition of probable cause

: a reasonable ground for supposing that a charge is well-founded

Examples of probable cause in a Sentence

The lawyer argued that there was a lack of probable cause for a search warrant. The police had probable cause to arrest him.
Recent Examples on the Web Wolf denied being in Indianapolis on May 11 before asking for an attorney and ending an interview with detectives, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday to support the criminal charges. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "Former Indiana corrections employee charged with murder in deadly knife attack," 29 May 2020 The probable causes of death, in each case linked to the coronavirus, are the same, over and over again: Pneumonia. New York Times, "‘Found Unresponsive at Home’: Grim Records Recount Lonely Deaths," 8 May 2020 That includes 77 cases in which coronavirus is deemed the probable cause of death. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "46 more cases of COVID-19 coronavirus confirmed in Cleveland, but no new deaths," 1 May 2020 The medical examiners' list does not include names but has demographic information and the probable cause of death. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Florida bars medical examiners from releasing coronavirus death list after discrepancy with state count," 29 Apr. 2020 In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, classified the active ingredient, glyphosate, as a probable cause of cancer in humans. Bob Egelko,, "Trump administration backs Monsanto in Bay Area case," 23 Dec. 2019 The National Transportation Safety Board is moving to determine the probable cause of the first fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle., "US agency eyes fatal crash involving self-driving car," 18 Oct. 2019 The woman — who was still being interviewed by police late Monday evening and was not immediately identified — was in the process of being booked into the Ramsey County jail for probable cause of felony assault, according to police Cmdr. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "Officer stabbed with screwdriver after confronting shoplifter at downtown St. Paul grocery store, police say," 7 Oct. 2019 Only 12 of the grand jurors need to find probable cause of a crime. Michael Mccann,, "The Consequences Patrick Chung Could Face For His Felony Cocaine Charge," 22 Aug. 2019

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

circa 1676, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for probable cause

Time Traveler

The first known use of probable cause was circa 1676

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Statistics for probable cause

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Probable cause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for probable cause

probable cause


English Language Learners Definition of probable cause

chiefly US, law : evidence that gives someone a reason to think that a crime has been or is being committed

probable cause

Legal Definition of probable cause

see cause sense 2

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with probable cause

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