warrant

noun
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

warrant

verb
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

Noun

warrantless \ ˈwȯr-​ənt-​ləs How to pronounce warrantless (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 In a 35-page arrest warrant released last week, authorities believe Jennifer Dulos was killed at her home on May 24 between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. Her body has not been found. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Lawyer claims Fotis Dulos, co-conspirator plotted to kill Kent Mawhinney's wife before Jennifer Dulos' disappearance," 15 Jan. 2020 Investigators realized that the two calls might be connected, questioned Kelley, and eventually got a warrant to search his devices. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "FBI arrests man suspected of orchestrating dozens of “swatting” calls," 14 Jan. 2020 Jonathan Bingham, 34, was wanted on multiple arrest warrants out of Ripley County, according to a release from Indiana State Police. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Man threatens to shoot state troopers during nearly 6 hour standoff in Franklin County, Indiana," 14 Jan. 2020 An arrest warrant stated that once in the holding area away from the courtroom, Murphy began struggling and fighting with deputies attempting to restrain him. Elizabeth Zavala, ExpressNews.com, "Trial begins for man accused of fighting, trying to take service weapon from bailiff in San Antonio court," 14 Jan. 2020 The warrants were confirmed and the suspect was transported to Harris County for booking. Houston Chronicle, "West University Place Police Department weekly report," 13 Jan. 2020 Investigators have filed warrants against Gillett for assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a female, interfering with emergency communications and possession of a firearm by a felon. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "North Carolina man sought for allegedly pistol-whipping girlfriend who wouldn't break into house with him," 13 Jan. 2020 In some of the Florida cases The Times reviewed, the technology was not mentioned in initial warrants or affidavits. New York Times, "How the Police Use Facial Recognition, and Where It Falls Short," 12 Jan. 2020 The woman, a 30-year-old medical assistant, went to the department that day to clear up a warrant related to a misdemeanor assault complaint and was arrested. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "East Cleveland police commander suspended for helping woman get released from jail without bond," 12 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Commissioner Annabelle Imber Tuck, a former state Supreme Court justice, said political officials wouldn't request raises even if warranted. Hunter Field, Arkansas Online, "Panel proposes 2.5% raises for lawmakers, 7 top officials," 19 Dec. 2019 The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday it was not alerted to the incident at the time but is now checking into the situation to determine if any criminal charges are warranted. Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post, "Aurora deputy chief was first to respond to drunk officer who passed out in car," 12 Dec. 2019 Federal inspectors with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will determine if the incident warrants an investigation of potential worker safety violations, according to a spokeswoman. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "'Is anybody hurt up top?': 911 calls from Fourth and Race collapse," 4 Dec. 2019 The email said the agency is conducting a criminal investigation into Reid, which will be sent to the State Attorney’s Office to determine if charges are warranted. Tess Sheets, orlandosentinel.com, "Girl, 13, says she’s still hurting after Orange County school deputy yanked her by hair — ‘I didn’t know what to do’," 15 Nov. 2019 In the House, impeachment is akin to the process of seeking an indictment, with members acting as investigators as well as a grand jury to determine if articles of impeachment are warranted. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "As public hearings begin on Trump impeachment, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s removal provides a guide for the process and the rhetoric," 12 Nov. 2019 Melvin said Saturday when asked if Fiers warranted wild card consideration. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "2019 takeaways from the Athletics final home game in the regular season," 22 Sep. 2019 If a tenant has failed to pay, or violates the rules of a lease, the court is the arbiter, and if eviction is warranted, that’s where it will be granted. Michael K. Mcintyre, cleveland.com, "Court-appointed lawyers for poor tenants in housing cases level the playing field: Michael K. McIntyre," 25 Aug. 2019 Among the transgressions that warranted apologies: Justin Timberlake held hands with a woman who wasn’t his wife. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "The 10 weirdest celebrity apologies of 2019, from water bottle shaming to a joke about AirPods," 27 Dec. 2019

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

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for warrant

Noun

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

Verb

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

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Warrant.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warrant. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for warrant

warrant

noun

Financial Definition of warrant

What It Is

Warrants are securities that give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy a certain number of securities (usually the issuer's common stock) at a certain price before a certain time. Warrants are not the same as call options or stock purchase rights.

How It Works

Occasionally, companies offer warrants for direct sale or give them to employees as incentive, but the vast majority of warrants are "attached" to newly issued bonds or preferred stock.

For example, if Company XYZ issues bonds with warrants attached, each bondholder might get a $1,000 face-value bond and the right to purchase 100 shares of Company XYZ stock at $20 per share over the next five years. Warrants usually permit the holder to purchase common stock of the issuer, but sometimes they allow the purchaser to buy the stock or bonds of another entity (such as a subsidiary or even a third party).

The price at which a warrant holder can purchase the underlying securities is called the exercise price or strike price. The exercise price is usually higher than the market price of the stock at the time of the warrant's issuance. In our example, the exercise price is $20, which is 15% higher than what Company XYZ stock was trading at when the bonds were issued. The warrant's exercise price often rises according to a schedule as the bond matures. This schedule is set forth in the bond indenture.

One important characteristic of warrants is that they are often detachable. That is, if an investor holds a bond with attached warrants, he or she can sell the warrants and keep the bond. Warrants are traded on the major exchanges. In some cases, where warrants have been issued with preferred stock, stockholders may not receive a dividend as long as they hold the warrant as well. Thus, it is sometimes advantageous to detach and sell a warrant as soon as possible so the investor can earn dividends.

If the price of the stock is above the exercise price of the warrant, the warrant must have what is known as a minimum value. For example, consider the warrants to purchase 100 shares of Company XYZ for $20 per share anytime in the next five years. If Company XYZ shares rose to $40 during that time, the warrant holder could purchase the shares for $20 each, and immediately sell them for $40 on the open market, pocketing a profit of ($40 - $20) x 100 shares = $2,000. Thus, the minimum value of each warrant is $20.

It is important to note, however, that if the warrants still had a long time before they expired, investors might speculate that the price of Company XYZ stock could go even higher than $100 per share. This speculation, accompanied by the extra time for the stock to rise further, is why a warrant with a minimum value of $20 could easily trade above $20. But as the warrant gets closer to expiring (and the chances of the stock price rising in time to further increase profits get smaller), that premium would shrink until it equaled the minimum value of the warrant (which could be $0 if the stock price falls to below $20).

Why It Matters

Warrants are not the same as call options. Call options are not detachable and they often have a shorter shelf life than warrants do (usually less than a year, versus five or more for warrants). They are also not the same as convertible securities, where the holder uses the principal of one security to purchase another security (usually a bond issuer's stock). For example, if the Company XYZ bond were a convertible bond, the holder could trade the bond's $1,000 par value for a number of Company XYZ shares. But if the Company XYZ bond has a warrant attached, the investor must come up with additional money to purchase the shares at the exercise price (in this case 100 shares x $20 per share, or $2,000).

Warrants are also not the same as stock purchase rights. The exercise price of a stock purchase right is usually below the underlying security's market price at the time of issuance, whereas warrant exercise prices are typically 15% above market price at the time of issuance. Also, companies often issue stock purchase rights only to existing shareholders, and they also have very short lives--generally two to four weeks.

Securities with attached warrants allow their holder to participate in the price appreciation of the underlying security (Company XYZ common stock, in our example). This is because the higher the minimum value of the attached warrant, the higher the value of the bond or preferred shares. For example, the price of a Company XYZ bond with a warrant attached tends to rise as the price of Company XYZ common stock approaches the exercise price (similar to a call option).

This opportunity to participate in the upside of another security (albeit usually with the same company) gives investors a little diversification and thus is a way to mitigate risk. As a result, companies often issue bonds and preferred stock with warrants attached as a way to enhance the demand and marketability of the offering. This in turn lowers the cost of raising capital for the issuer.

Source: Investing Answers

warrant

noun
How to pronounce warrant (audio)

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

warrant

verb

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)

warrant

noun
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

warrant

verb
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.

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warrant

noun
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

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

Noun

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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Comments on warrant

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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