war·​rant | \ ˈwȯr-ənt How to pronounce warrant (audio) , ˈwär- \

Definition of warrant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : sanction, authorization also : evidence for or token of authorization
2a : a commission or document giving authority to do something especially : a writing that authorizes a person to pay or deliver to another and the other to receive money or other consideration
b : a precept or writ issued by a competent magistrate authorizing an officer to make an arrest, a seizure, or a search or to do other acts incident to the administration of justice
c : an official certificate of appointment issued to an officer of lower rank than a commissioned officer
d(1) : a short-term obligation of a governmental body (such as a municipality) issued in anticipation of revenue
(2) : an instrument issued by a corporation giving to the holder the right to purchase the stock of the corporation at a stated price either prior to a stipulated date or at any future time


warranted; warranting; warrants

Definition of warrant (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to declare or maintain with certainty : be sure that I'll warrant he'll be here by noon
b : to assure (a person) of the truth of what is said
2a : to guarantee to a person good title to and undisturbed possession of (something, such as an estate)
b : to provide a guarantee of the security of (something, such as title to property sold) usually by an express covenant in the deed of conveyance
c : to guarantee to be as represented
d : to guarantee (something, such as goods sold) especially in respect of the quality or quantity specified
3 : to guarantee security or immunity to : secure I'll warrant him from drowning— William Shakespeare
4 : to give warrant or sanction to : authorize the law warrants this procedure
5a : to give proof of the authenticity or truth of
b : to give assurance of the nature of or for the undertaking of : guarantee
6 : to serve as or give adequate ground or reason for promising enough to warrant further consideration

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Other Words from warrant


warrantless \ ˈwȯr-​ənt-​ləs How to pronounce warrant (audio) , ˈwär-​ \ adjective

Examples of warrant in a Sentence

Noun The police had a warrant for his arrest. There was no warrant for such behavior. Verb The writing was poor, but it hardly warrants that kind of insulting criticism. The punishment he received was not warranted.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Brenda Brito, 29, Chicago, was taken into custody on a Cook County no-bond warrant for failing to appear in court on an undisclosed charge during an April 22 stop at 95th Street and Kilpatrick Avenue for driving on one headlight, police said. Daily Southtown Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Southland crime: Oak Lawn police arrest man they say made false carjacking report, and more," 4 May 2021 Authorities have released few details about what led to the shooting on April 21, when Brown was fatally shot by Pasquotank County deputies who were trying to execute a warrant. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Andrew Brown Jr. will be laid to rest Monday as his family demands the release of body camera footage," 3 May 2021 Seven deputies arrived at his home to serve a warrant as part of a drug investigation. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Watch Live: Andrew Brown Jr.'s family holds funeral," 3 May 2021 Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies sought to serve a warrant for Brown's arrest on felony drug charges two weeks ago Wednesday when three of the lawmen opened fire, officials said. NBC News, "Funeral set for Andrew Brown Jr. nearly two weeks after he was killed by North Carolina sheriff's deputies," 3 May 2021 Officials said he was being served a warrant by Pasquotank County, NC sheriff deputies. Donna Owens, Essence, "Andrew Brown Jr.’s Funeral Held Today in North Carolina," 3 May 2021 Brown was killed by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies on April 21 when officers were executing a search warrant and an arrest warrant on felony drug charges at his home, The Washington Post reported. Washington Post, "Mourners gather for Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man fatally shot by deputies in North Carolina," 3 May 2021 Darren Stephens, 36, of Portland, who was arrested for a warrant for Criminal Mischief II. oregonlive, "Portland police declare riot, arrest 6 after May Day protests leave downtown windows broken," 2 May 2021 It was then learned that the driver, a Cleveland man, 27, was driving without a valid license, and was wanted on a Cleveland police warrant for assault. cleveland, "Man finds Direct TV deal was a fraud: Solon police blotter," 30 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Complaints are confidential during the preliminary investigation, which is supposed to give investigators an opportunity to determine if there is enough information to warrant a full investigation. oregonlive, "Audit: Oregon should boost ethics officials’ independence, anti-corruption measures," 5 May 2021 However, other times, the eyelid is swollen, which should be treated, but doesn't necessarily warrant a trip to the emergency room, says Dr. Hajee. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "How To Treat Swollen Eyes Caused By Allergies, According to Allergists," 29 Apr. 2021 Politicians claimed Jenner’s achievements did not warrant a place among Britain’s military heroes. Robert Hart, Forbes, "As Maine Considers A Covid Memorial, Here’s How Other Parts Of The World Are Remembering The Pandemic’s Victims," 27 Apr. 2021 Some experts interviewed by the Courant argued that some of the financial assumptions in the report undermine its conclusions and that perhaps the true savings do not warrant changing divisions. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Will UHart really save $9 million a year by transitioning from NCAA Division I to Division III? The answer is complicated," 24 Apr. 2021 Verbitsky’s coworker admitted to throwing the cinder block but said his actions didn’t warrant being stuck by the vehicle. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Mequon man has been charged with striking his coworker twice with a pickup truck after an argument," 13 Apr. 2021 In an annual report issued Wednesday, the State Department for the second time concluded that Hong Kong does not warrant differential treatment from mainland China under U.S. law. Washington Post, "Hong Kong court finds veteran pro-democracy activists, most over 60, guilty of unauthorized assembly," 1 Apr. 2021 Two of the top commanders in the region told the Los Angeles Times that conditions on the ground in Afghanistan may not warrant complying with the May 1 deadline. Eleanor Watson, CBS News, "Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visits Afghanistan as troop withdrawal deadline looms," 22 Mar. 2021 Police noticed a 2001 Chevy Astro driving north with a plate belonging to a 2004 GMC on Feb. 27 and stopped the driver, a South Euclid man, 55, who had a domestic violence warrant out of Cleveland, where police took custody. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cancel that fabricated dialysis appointment: Orange Police Blotter," 6 Mar. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for warrant


Middle English waraunt protector, warrant, from Anglo-French warant, garant, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German werēnto guarantor, werēn to warrant; akin to Old High German wāra trust, care — more at very entry 2


Middle English, waranten to act as protector, guarantee, from Anglo-French warentir, garantir, from warant

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Time Traveler for warrant

Time Traveler

The first known use of warrant was in the 14th century

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Statistics for warrant

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Warrant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warrant. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for warrant



English Language Learners Definition of warrant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

law : a document issued by a court that gives the police the power to do something
formal : a reason for thinking, deciding, or doing something



English Language Learners Definition of warrant (Entry 2 of 2)

: to require or deserve (something)
: to make a legal promise that a statement is true
: to give a guarantee or warranty for (a product)


war·​rant | \ ˈwȯr-ənt How to pronounce warrant (audio) \

Kids Definition of warrant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a reason or cause for an opinion or action There is no warrant for such behavior.
2 : a document giving legal power “Hold that man,” … “I have a warrant for his arrest.”— Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins


warranted; warranting

Kids Definition of warrant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to be sure of or that I'll warrant they know the answer.
2 : guarantee entry 2 sense 1 The toaster is warranted for 90 days.
3 : to call for : justify The report warrants careful study.


war·​rant | \ ˈwȯr-ənt, ˈwär- How to pronounce warrant (audio) \

Legal Definition of warrant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : warranty sense 2 an implied warrant of fitness
2 : a commission or document giving authority to do something: as
a : an order from one person (as an official) to another to pay public funds to a designated person
b : a writ issued especially by a judicial official (as a magistrate) authorizing an officer (as a sheriff) to perform a specified act required for the administration of justice a warrant of arrest by warrant of commitment
administrative warrant
: a warrant (as for an administrative search) issued by a judge upon application of an administrative agency
anticipatory search warrant
: a search warrant that is issued on the basis of an affidavit showing probable cause that there will be certain evidence at a specific location at a future time

called also anticipatory warrant

arrest warrant
: a warrant issued to a law enforcement officer ordering the officer to arrest and bring the person named in the warrant before the court or a magistrate

Note: A criminal arrest warrant must be issued based upon probable cause. Not all arrests require an arrest warrant.

bench warrant
: a warrant issued by a judge for the arrest of a person who is in contempt of court or indicted
death warrant
: a warrant issued to a warden or other prison official to carry out a sentence of death
dispossessory warrant \ ˌdis-​pə-​ˈze-​sə-​rē-​ \
: a warrant issued to evict someone (as a lessee) from real property used especially in Georgia
distress warrant
: a warrant ordering the distress of property and specifying which items of property are to be distrained
extradition warrant
: a warrant for the extradition of a fugitive specifically : rendition warrant in this entry
fugitive warrant
: an arrest warrant issued in one jurisdiction for someone who is a fugitive from another jurisdiction

called also fugitive from justice warrant

general warrant
: a warrant that is unconstitutional because it fails to state with sufficient particularity the place or person to be searched or things to be seized
material witness warrant
: a warrant issued for the arrest of a material witness to prevent the witness from fleeing without giving testimony
no-knock search warrant
: a search warrant allowing law enforcement officers to enter premises without prior announcement in order to prevent destruction of evidence (as illegal drugs) or harm to the officers — compare exigent circumstances
rendition warrant
: a warrant issued by an official (as a governor) in one jurisdiction (as a state) for the extradition of a fugitive in that jurisdiction to another that is requesting the extradition
search warrant
: a warrant authorizing law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a place (as a house or vehicle) or person and usually also to seize evidence

called also search and seizure warrant

Note: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a search warrant for a criminal investigation be issued only upon a showing of probable cause, as established usually by a sworn affidavit. The search warrant has to specify the premises and persons to be searched as well as what is being searched for. Not all searches require a search warrant. Warrantless searches are permitted when they are of a kind that the courts have found to be reasonable (as by being limited) or when they are prompted by a level of suspicion or belief (as reasonable suspicion or probable cause) that is consistent with the level of intrusion of the search. Some searches have been found to be so intrusive that a court hearing is required before the search is permitted.

3a : a short-term obligation of a governmental body (as a municipality) issued in anticipation of revenue
b : an instrument issued by a corporation giving to the holder the right to purchase the capital stock of the corporation at a stated price either prior to a stipulated date or at any future time stock warrant — compare subscription

Other Words from warrant

warrantless adjective


transitive verb

Legal Definition of warrant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to guarantee especially by giving assurances that make one liable or responsible: as
a : to give a warranty (as of title) to
b : to protect or assure by warranty the warranted goods an assignor is not liable for defaults of the obligor and does not warrant his solvencyRestatement (Second) of Contracts
c : to state as a warranty : guarantee to be as represented the seller warrants that the car is without defects expressly warranted “prior endorsements guaranteed”— J. J. White and R. S. Summers
2a : to authorize by a warrant a warranted search
b : to serve as or give adequate reason or authorization for warranted the awarding of attorney's fees was not warranted by the facts
3 : to give proof of the authenticity or truth of a formally warranted statement

History and Etymology for warrant


Anglo-French warant garant protector, guarantor, authority, authorization, of Germanic origin

Transitive verb

Anglo-French warentir garantir, from garant protector, guarantor

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