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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Authorities have issued a warrant for second-degree homicide to Jones' husband, Michael Waye Jones Jr. He is currently being questioned in connection with her death. Htv National Desk, Houston Chronicle, "Florida mother found dead; her 4 children have been missing for 6 weeks," 16 Sep. 2019 According to an arrest warrant filed in D.C. Superior Court, Williams was driving from 63 to 68 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone before the crash. Washington Post, "Driver charged in crash that killed two men sitting on park bench in D.C.," 15 Sep. 2019 Bernard's father confirmed to investigators the phone belonged to his son, according to the warrant. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "A phone may help investigators identify a motive in the triple homicide of a baseball player's family," 13 Sep. 2019 Tamika Tory Miller, 31, and Althia Kenesha Meggie, 36, both nurses, were charged with manslaughter as well as tampering with evidence in the case, according to the arrest warrants. al, "Florida nursing home employees charged in 12 Hurricane Irma deaths," 27 Aug. 2019 But those cited didn't show up for court 90% of the time, a 2017 city auditor's report found, and nearly three-quarters of the citations led to an arrest warrant. Tim Craig, Anchorage Daily News, "Should people have a legal right to sleep on city streets? The nation’s homeless crisis sparks a partisan battle.," 23 Aug. 2019 The father forgot to take the baby to daycare, according to a warrant obtained by KTVT, and accidentally left her in the van for about seven hours. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "In the first six days of August, five children have died in hot cars, bringing 2019 total to 29," 7 Aug. 2019 Sherra Wright was thus a key witness and her home was searched pursuant to a warrant, though police did not find probable cause to charge her. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Revisiting Details of the Lorenzen Wright Case and Questions That Remain," 29 July 2019 In addition, in October 2017, government authorities allege that Lindsay sent documentation of a $681,625 wire transfer between an asset management company and Long Island Brand Beverages to a person named Julian Davidson, according to the warrant. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "The FBI thinks Long Island Iced Tea’s infamous pivot to blockchain was sweetened by insider trading," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Stopping or delaying the trial is an extraordinary request, but it is warranted, the brief states. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost gets support from other state AGs in attempt to halt federal opioid trial," 6 Sep. 2019 For Memphis, the win should warrant Mike Norvell's team some Top 25 consideration and paint the Tigers as a significant contender for the access-bowl bid to the New Year's Six. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "College football's Week 1 winners and losers, starting with Willie Taggart and Florida State," 31 Aug. 2019 Rousey's injury, according to her Instagram post, apparently warranted the latter. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "Ronda Rousey's Middle Finger Almost Snapped In Two—See the Graphic Photo," 20 Aug. 2019 The array of tamales could warrant a book of its own. Michalene Busico, Dallas News, "'Mercados' cookbook explores the wonders of Mexico's markets and brings home the recipes," 31 July 2019 Any deviation from my scripted trajectory warrants a worried phone call or text message. Boone Ashworth, WIRED, "The Terrible Anxiety of Location Sharing Apps," 28 July 2019 As opposition to the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience (and the fear of its permanence) became the cornerstone of the revolution, the document warrants a careful examination. Declan Leary, National Review, "Conservatives Should Not Celebrate Religious Tyranny and Coercion," 19 July 2019 Pasher’s performances have always warranted an opportunity to continue playing, but have never offered the opportunity to keep performing in the same place. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "After winding career, Indy Eleven's leading scorer Tyler Pasher finds his form — and a home," 18 July 2019 All by itself, Wall-E’s sublime, dreamy opening sequence, in which a lonely android compacts trash on a desolate planet while enjoying the strains of Hello, Dolly!, would warrant its place at the top of our list. Allegra Frank, Vox, "All 21 Pixar movies, definitively ranked," 27 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about warrant

Statistics for warrant

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for warrant

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on warrant

What made you want to look up warrant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!