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 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 practice would enable police or other government organizations to do an end-around of due process, by potentially collecting data from a huge number of civilians, whether they've been accused of a crime or not, without a warrant. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Security News This Week: 15 Billion Stolen Logins Are Circulating on the Dark Web," 11 July 2020 The bill prohibits the application of facial recognition software to body camera footage without a warrant. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Amazon announces one-year ban on police use of facial recognition tech," 11 June 2020 National gendarmes in Nkambe, a city in Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest region, arrested Nfor without a warrant in May 2018. Madeleine Carlisle, Time, "These Are 10 'Most Urgent' Cases of Threats to Press Freedom In The World Right Now," 1 June 2020 The 54-year-old male was found to have an outstanding felony arrest warrant and the 59-year-old female was found to be in possession of meth. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 13 July 2020 Officers were responding to a shooting at a block party during independence day festivities and arrested a separate man, Darnell Sylvester, who had an outstanding warrant against him for drug distribution. Fox News, "Detroit police release video of man firing at police before officers fatally shoot him," 11 July 2020 At the time of the arrest, Porter had an open warrant for felonious assault in connection with a beating involving the same woman. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, "Police: Man arrested in July 4 standoff was holding woman captive for the second time," 7 July 2020 Her boyfriend had a warrant stemming from a domestic incident with Gaines. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Appeals Court Reinstates $38 Million Verdict In Korryn Gaines Case," 2 July 2020 The son was found to have an active traffic warrant with South Euclid police and was advised. cleveland, "Walmart employee says she stole to pay for prom and graduation: Mayfield Heights Police Blotter," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb DeVos conceded that some schools might have to shut down and resume remote learning, but declined to say what level of infection would justify that switch, or what level of community spread in the area might warrant wider closures. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "'I wouldn’t trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child': Pressley slams DeVos on reopening schools," 14 July 2020 The problem appears to be that only certain shows are allowed to be both niche and relevant enough to warrant a slot on a streaming slate. Washington Post, "Classic black sitcoms like ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and ‘Living Single’ are finally streaming. Why did it take so long?," 9 July 2020 General Manager Gerard Nijkamp explained during a June video-conference call that Locadia had showcased enough in his short time at the club to warrant extending his loan. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, "Jaap Stam: FC Cincinnati's Jürgen Locadia injured, could miss 'a couple of weeks'," 7 July 2020 Authored by a Silicon Valley marketer, the post was packed with data and graphs and argued that the epidemic wasn’t serious enough to warrant shutdowns. Author: Sandi Doughton, Anchorage Daily News, "COVID-19 meets the 2020 election: The perfect storm for misinformation," 7 July 2020 An officer stopped a vehicle at 8:50 a.m. June 27 on Crocker at Detroit Road for an equipment violation and learned the driver had a felony warrant out of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department for dangerous drugs. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, "Man charged with assault, resisting arrest: Westlake Police Blotter," 4 July 2020 The question is whether all of that will be enough to warrant a serious shot at a 15-man-roster spot next season. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Juan Toscano-Anderson: Can forward stick with Warriors?," 26 June 2020 The view alone would warrant a trip: strolling the grounds with the picturesque ridge as backdrop feels like stepping into the canvas of a Romanticist painting. Lila Battis, Travel + Leisure, "Top 5 Africa Resort Hotels," 8 July 2020 Did new and better sourcing materialize over those two months to warrant the broader dissemination? Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "Lack of US consensus on Russia? Bounty report poses sharper question.," 1 July 2020

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

28 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Warrant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warrant. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for warrant


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



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

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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