AskDefine | Define arrest

Dictionary Definition



1 the act of apprehending (especially apprehending a criminal); "the policeman on the beat got credit for the collar" [syn: apprehension, catch, collar, pinch, taking into custody]
2 the state of inactivity following an interruption; "the negotiations were in arrest"; "held them in check"; "during the halt he got some lunch"; "the momentary stay enabled him to escape the blow"; "he spent the entire stop in his seat" [syn: check, halt, hitch, stay, stop, stoppage]


1 take into custody; "the police nabbed the suspected criminals" [syn: collar, nail, apprehend, pick up, nab, cop]
2 hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of; "Arrest the downward trend"; "Check the growth of communism in Sout East Asia"; "Contain the rebel movement"; "Turn back the tide of communism" [syn: check, turn back, stop, contain, hold back]
3 attract and fix; "His look caught her"; "She caught his eye"; "Catch the attention of the waiter" [syn: catch, get]
4 cause to stop; "Halt the engines"; "Arrest the progress"; "halt the presses" [syn: halt, hold]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /əˈɹɛst/, /@"r\Est/


To cause to stop, from Old French arester to stay, stop, from Vulgar Latin *arrestare, from Latin ad- to + restare to stop, remain behind, stay back, from re- back + stare to stand, from PIE base *sta- to stand (see Latin stet).


  1. An act or instance of arresting.


an act or instance of an arrest
  • Danish: anholdelse
  • German: Festnahme
  • Hungarian: letartóztatás
  • Japanese: 逮捕 (taiho)
  • Kurdish:
  • Polish: areszt


  1. to stop
  2. to seize and take into legal custody


to stop
to seize and take into legal custody

See also

Extensive Definition

An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the investigation and prevention of crime. The term is Norman in origin and is related to the French word arrêt, meaning "stop".


United States

For serious crimes, the police typically take suspects to a police station or a jail where they will be incarcerated pending a judicial bail determination or an arraignment. In other instances, the police may issue a notice to appear specifying where a suspect is to appear for his arraignment.

United Kingdom

In English law, whether a person has been arrested does not depend on the legal authority of the person enforcing the arrest, rather it depends upon whether he has been deprived of his liberty to go where he pleases. Whether an arrest is lawful depends on whether the police officer or civilian exercising the arrest is acting within the scope of his powers.
Upon arrest a person must ordinarily be taken to a police station as soon as is practicable, but may be released on bail.

Powers of Arrest

United Kingdom

Police officers have the following powers to effect arrests without warrant: Code G to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 deals with powers of arrest under section 24. The wide power under section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 may only be used if it is necessary to:
  • ascertain the person's name or address;
  • to prevent the person
    • causing physical injury to himself or any other person,
    • suffering physical injury,
    • causing loss of or damage to property,
    • committing an offence against public decency, or
    • causing an unlawful obstruction to the highway;
  • to protect a child or other vulnerable person from the person;
  • to allow prompt and effective investigation; or
  • to prevent the disappearance of the person.
Police officers also have powers to arrest under warrant. Civilians have restricted powers of arrest without warrant in relation to very serious offences and breach of the peace.

Warnings on arrest

United States

see also Miranda warning The reading of the Miranda warning or similar "caution" to an arrestee advising him or her of rights is not legally required upon arrest. A legal caution is required only when a person has been taken into custody and is interrogated. Legal cautions are mandated in the US, most Commonwealth and other common law jurisdictions, and countries where the right to legal counsel, the right to silence, and the right against self-incrimination have been clearly established.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom a person must be told that he is under arrest , and "told in simple, non-technical language that he could understand, the essential legal and factual grounds for his arrest" . A person must be 'cautioned' when being arrested unless this is impractical due to the behaviour of the arrestee i.e. violence or drunkenness. The caution required in England and Wales states, You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.

Search on arrest

United Kingdom

Otherwise than in relation to terrorist suspects, a police constable has the following powers where he arrests a person outside a police station:

Non-criminal arrests

United States

Breach of a court order can be civil contempt of court, and a warrant may issue for the person's arrest. Some court orders contain authority for a police officer to make an arrest without further order.
If a legislature lacks a quorum, many jurisdictions allow the members present the power to order a call of the house, which orders the arrest of the members who are not present. A member arrested is brought to the body's chamber to achieve a quorum. The member "arrested" does not face prosecution, but may be required to pay a fine to the legislative body.
Ordinarily only human beings can be arrested, but recent and somewhat controversial changes to criminal codes have allowed for the arrest not only of the usual "contraband, evidence, fruits, and instrumentalities" of crime, but also of inanimate objects such as money, automobiles, houses, and other personal property under asset forfeiture.

Following arrest

While an arrest will not necessarily lead to a criminal conviction, it may nonetheless have serious ramifications such as a loss of employment due to inability to pay bail, social stigma and (in some cases) the legal obligation to declare arrests when applying for a job, loan or professional license. These collateral consequences are more severe in the United States than in the UK, where arrests without conviction are not usually considered significant and are not even reported in a standard criminal record check. Even in the US, innocent people can often have their arrest records removed through an expungement or Finding of Factual Innocence. Nevertheless, arrests should not be made lightly as a wrongfully arrested person may sue the arresting authority for damages.
arrest in German: Festnahme
arrest in Spanish: Arresto
arrest in Esperanto: Aresto
arrest in Hebrew: מעצר
arrest in Italian: Arresto
arrest in Hungarian: Előzetes letartóztatás
arrest in Dutch: Arrestatie
arrest in Japanese: 逮捕
arrest in Norwegian: Anholdelse
arrest in Polish: Areszt
arrest in Simple English: Arrest
arrest in Serbian: Притвор
arrest in Swedish: Arrestering
arrest in Ukrainian: Арешт
arrest in Yiddish: ארעסט
arrest in Chinese: 逮捕

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Jacksonian epilepsy, Rolandic epilepsy, abdominal epilepsy, abduction, absorb, absorb the attention, access, acquired epilepsy, activated epilepsy, affect epilepsy, akinetic epilepsy, apoplexy, apprehend, apprehension, arrest, arrestation, arrested, arrestment, attach, attack, autonomic epilepsy, backpedal, backwater, balk, bearing rein, bell, bit, block, blockage, blocking, bottle up, brake, bridle, bring to, bring up short, bust, capture, cardiac epilepsy, catch, catching, cessation, chain, charm, check, checkmate, checkrein, chock, choke, clip the wings, clog, clogging, clonic spasm, clonus, closing up, closure, collar, collaring, compare, confine, constrain, constraint, constriction, contain, control, convulsion, cool, cool off, cooling, cooling down, cooling off, cortical epilepsy, countercheck, coup, cramp, curb, curb bit, cursive epilepsy, curtail, curtailment, cut short, cutoff, dam, dam up, damp, damper, dead stop, deadlock, decelerate, deceleration, delay, detain, detainment, detention, diurnal epilepsy, dompt, doorstop, drag, drag sail, dragnet, draw rein, drift anchor, drift sail, drogue, ease off, ease up, ease-off, ease-up, eclampsia, enchant, end, endgame, ending, engage, engage the attention, engage the mind, engage the thoughts, engross, engross the mind, engross the thoughts, enjoin, enthrall, epilepsia, epilepsia gravior, epilepsia major, epilepsia minor, epilepsia mitior, epilepsia nutans, epilepsia tarda, epilepsy, exercise, falling sickness, fascinate, fetter, final whistle, fit, fixation, flagging, focal epilepsy, foot-dragging, forcible seizure, forestall, freeze, frenzy, frustrate, full stop, govern, grab, grabbing, grand mal, grinding halt, grip, guard, gun, halt, hamper, hampering, haute mal, hinder, hindering, hindrance, hold, hold at bay, hold back, hold fast, hold in, hold in check, hold in leash, hold spellbound, hold the interest, hold up, holdback, holdup, hypnotize, hysterical epilepsy, ictus, immerse, immure, impede, impediment, imprison, imprisoned, in custody, incarcerate, inhibit, inhibition, injunction, intercept, interdict, interfere, interference, intermeddle, interpose, interrupt, interruption, intervene, involve, involve the interest, jail, keep, keep back, keep from, keep in, keep in check, keep under control, kidnapping, lag, larval epilepsy, laryngeal epilepsy, laryngospasm, latent epilepsy, lay hands on, lay under restraint, legal restraint, let, let down, let up, letdown, letup, lock up, lockjaw, lockout, lose ground, lose momentum, lose speed, make an arrest, make late, martingale, matutinal epilepsy, meddle, menstrual epilepsy, mesmerize, minus acceleration, moderate, monopolize, monopoly, musicogenic epilepsy, myoclonous epilepsy, nab, nabbing, negativism, net, netting, nick, nocturnal epilepsy, nuisance value, obsess, obstruct, obstruction, obstructionism, occlusion, occupy, occupy the attention, oppose, opposition, paroxysm, pelham, petit mal, physiologic epilepsy, pick up, picking up, pickup, pinch, power grab, prehension, preoccupy, prevent, prohibit, prohibition, protection, protectionism, protective tariff, psychic epilepsy, psychomotor epilepsy, pull, pull in, pull up, put paid to, put under arrest, rationing, reef, reflex epilepsy, rein, rein in, relax, remora, repress, repression, resist, resistance, restrain, restraint, restraint of trade, restriction, retard, retardation, retardment, retrench, retrenchment, rotatoria, run in, running in, scotch, sea anchor, seize, seizure, seizure of power, self-control, sensory epilepsy, serial epilepsy, set back, setback, shackle, sit-down strike, slack off, slack up, slack-up, slacken, slackening, slough, slow, slow down, slow up, slowdown, slowing, slowing down, slowup, snaffle, snatch, snatching, snub, spasm, spellbind, spoke, squeeze, stalemate, stall, stand, standoff, standstill, stay, stem, stem the tide, stop, stop cold, stop dead, stop short, stop up, stoppage, straiten, stranglehold, stricture, strike, stroke, suppress, suppression, take, take captive, take in, take in sail, take into custody, take prisoner, take up, taking, taking in, taking into custody, tardy epilepsy, tariff wall, tetanus, tetany, thought control, throes, thromboembolism, thrombosis, throttle down, thwart, tonic epilepsy, tonic spasm, torsion spasm, trammel, traumatic epilepsy, trismus, ucinate epilepsy, visitation, walkout, withhold, withstand, work stoppage
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