quo warranto


quo war·​ran·​to ˌkwō-wə-ˈrän-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce quo warranto (audio) -ˈran- How to pronounce quo warranto (audio)
: an English writ formerly requiring a person to show by what authority he exercises a public office, franchise, or liberty
: a legal proceeding for a like purpose begun by an information
: the legal action begun by a quo warranto

Examples of quo warranto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To file a quo warranto lawsuit, which challenges whether someone is lawfully entitled to their office, against Keefer, the plaintiffs needed the attorney general’s permission. Jennah Pendleton, Sacramento Bee, 14 May 2024 Bailey’s four quo warranto cases are each distinct. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 24 Apr. 2024 The Missouri Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday filed a petition for quo warranto – essentially a lawsuit seeking Childers removal – in Ray County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 7 Mar. 2024 DeSantis has appointed five of the seven justices; in over a dozen cases, the court has never issued a writ of quo warranto, Wallach said. Shira Moolten, Sun Sentinel, 2 Jan. 2024 These are petitions in equity in the nature of quo warranto, which came before the Supreme Court for oral argument on April 13, 2023. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 18 July 2023 In the wake of the incident, Bailey filed a petition quo warranto, the legal mechanism under state statute that allows the attorney general to remove a prosecutor who neglects the job's duties. Aaron Kliegman, Fox News, 4 May 2023 The complaint asks Kaul to remedy the situation through a quo warranto action, or a challenge to Prehn's right to remain on the board after his term expired. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 July 2021 This quo warranto business may feel airy and academic. Dahlia Lithwick, Slate Magazine, 15 Feb. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quo warranto.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English quo waranto, from Medieval Latin quo warranto by what warrant; from the wording of the writ

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of quo warranto was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near quo warranto

Cite this Entry

“Quo warranto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quo%20warranto. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Legal Definition

quo warranto

quo war·​ran·​to ˈkwō-wə-ˈran-tō, -ˈrän- How to pronounce quo warranto (audio)
: an extraordinary writ requiring a person or corporation to show by what right or authority a public office or franchise is held or exercised
: a proceeding in the nature of a writ of quo warranto for determining by what authority or right an office or franchise is held or exercised and seeking as an extraordinary remedy the discontinuance of an unlawful exercise of office or franchise

Medieval Latin, by what warrant; from the wording of the writ

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