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

The warrant for Ragozzine’s arrest has been sealed, but the threatening statements against Winsted police he is accused of making were included in a police report submitted to Hartford Superior Court Judge Ann E. Lynch on July 31. David Owens, courant.com, "Winsted man charged in threats against Canton daycare center faces new charges of threatening police in his hometown," 13 Aug. 2019 The warrant was the linchpin for the entire investigation and uncovered evidence that justified future searches. Evan Sernoffsky, SFChronicle.com, "Adachi leak: What each judge knew before authorizing police searches of SF journalist," 13 Aug. 2019 Investigators also sought records about recent international travel by DWP officials and any agreements the utility signed with foreign governments or entities, the warrant shows. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "FBI probe at DWP includes scrutiny on cybersecurity," 10 Aug. 2019 When attempting to enter the warrant into the system, a dispatcher noticed discrepancies. cleveland.com, "New York woman becomes irate after trying to buy cigarettes: Bay Village Police Blotter," 9 Aug. 2019 Crusius emerged out of his car and raised his hands, the warrant said. NBC News, "'I'm the shooter': Accused El Paso gunman told police he was targeting Mexicans," 9 Aug. 2019 Legan also had two driver’s licenses: one from California listing his family home and a Nevada license giving his address as an apartment in Walker Lake, according to an affidavit requesting the warrant. Chelcey Adami, USA TODAY, "Gilroy festival gunman had passport, clown mask, survival guide in car at time of shooting," 9 Aug. 2019 The warrant allowed an FBI agent to inspect an Apple iPhone Gilreath used to post a guide on hunting refugees, Jews and Muslims. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Boulder porn suspect researched bombs, poisons, mass killers and found addresses for Denver area synagogues and mosques," 8 Aug. 2019 The men filed a lawsuit against San Diego police Detectives Rudy Castro and Scott Henderson who led the investigation and authored the warrants leading to their arrests. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge rules warrants were unconstitutional in Lincoln Park gang conspiracy case," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, "U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act," 12 Aug. 2019 The bruises were likely enough to put the wealthy financier on suicide watch, if determined to be self-inflicted, or warrant extra surveillance and assessments, experts say. Olivia Sanchez, USA TODAY, "Was Jeffrey Epstein on suicide watch when he died? How safeguards aren't foolproof," 10 Aug. 2019 The goal could have been avoided had Alisson decided not to let his arms turn into spaghetti, but City's bright start more than warranted their advantage on the scoreboard. SI.com, "Community Shield: Thrilling Spectacle Provides Little Clarity on Upcoming Premier League Title Race," 4 Aug. 2019 And despite assurances, much of this data has been made available to all sorts of government and private organizations as a product—including for use as a warranted or warrantless surveillance tool. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Barr says the US needs encryption backdoors to prevent “going dark.” Um, what?," 4 Aug. 2019 The law allows for no more large cultivators to supply the Illinois market until 2021 at the earliest, and then only if demand warrants them. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois marijuana growers who get first shot at the recreational market contributed heavily to politicians who cemented their advantage," 2 Aug. 2019 Bikes that have all of those attributes warrant inspection. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, "Cannondale Recalls More Than 11,000 CAADX Bikes," 29 July 2019 Sayoc’s lawyers argued in the court papers Monday that his actions warrant a less severe sentence and asked for a decade behind bars. Fox News, "Cesar Sayoc lawyers say 'hoax devices' warrant 10 years in slammer, not life," 23 July 2019 The Commission on Judicial Disabilities determined that Russell yelled at other judges, pushed a clerk and failed to properly process search warrant materials — behavior the panel concluded warranted a six-month suspension. Alison Knezevich, baltimoresun.com, "Why does it take so long to discipline a judge in Maryland? Recent Glen Burnie homicide brings scrutiny.," 11 July 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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Learn More about warrant

Statistics for warrant

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for warrant

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

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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

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

warrant

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

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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