Definition of arrest in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈrest/


[with object]
1Seize (someone) by legal authority and take into custody: the police arrested him for possession of marijuana two youths aged 16 were arrested
More example sentences
  • Convicted in a U.S. court of drug possession and conspiracy, he appealed on the grounds that the United States did not have the authority to arrest him.
  • Given the factual circumstances, Mr Maguire's submission that the respondents acted unlawfully in arresting him for breach of the peace is not accepted.
  • This week, they impounded an east European ship, arresting its 22-man crew, 18 of whom were Russians.
apprehend, take into custody, take prisoner, imprison, incarcerate, detain, jail, put in jail
informal pick up, pull in, run in, pinch, bust, nab, collar
2Stop or check (progress or a process): the spread of the disease can be arrested (as adjective arrested) arrested development may occur
More example sentences
  • This addresses only 50 per cent of the problem, it will arrest the disease process and possibly repair some damage.
  • As yet there is no proven means of arresting the disease's progress, let alone curing it.
  • Many natural and chemical agents have been employed with the aim of halting or blocking angiogenesis, in an attempt to arrest malignant growth, development and metastasis.
stop, halt, check, block, hinder, restrict, limit, inhibit, impede, curb;
prevent, obstruct
literary stay
2.1 [no object] Suffer a heart attack: they were trying to resuscitate a patient who had arrested
3Attract the attention of (someone): his attention was arrested by a strange sound
More example sentences
  • A sculpture put up in the middle of the hall arrests your attention as you enter.
  • The children performed skits during rush hours at the concourse of the eastern entry of the railway station arresting the attention of the travelling public and visitors.
  • There was a week left in the season, and football is arresting the city's attention in the way Richardson always wished it would.
attract, capture, catch, hold, engage;
absorb, occupy, engross


1The action of seizing someone to take into custody: I have a warrant for your arrest they placed her under arrest at least 69 arrests were made
More example sentences
  • In Lindley the defendant had been taken into police custody upon arrest for disorderly behaviour.
  • These are separate categories, but it does not follow that in every case of unlawful arrest by a police officer exemplary damages are appropriate.
  • The internal report will provide valuable ammunition for the Hamiltons who have said they intend to sue Scotland Yard for unlawful arrest and detention.
detention, apprehension, seizure, capture, takedown
2A stoppage or sudden cessation of motion: a respiratory arrest
More example sentences
  • The sudden arrest of his motion, the abrasion of one of his hands on the gravel, restored him, and he wept with delight.
  • I also cracked my skull and had cardiac and respiratory arrests.
  • The mum-of-two suffered a respiratory arrest three weeks ago from a chest infection.
stoppage, halt, interruption


Late Middle English: from Old French arester, based on Latin ad- 'at, to' + restare 'remain, stop'.

  • rest from Old English:

    In the sense ‘to stop working or moving’, rest is an Old English word from a root meaning ‘league’ or ‘mile’—the reference was to a distance after which a person rested. The rest that means ‘the remaining part’ comes from Latin restare ‘to remain’, also the source of to arrest someone (Late Middle English), which you do by stopping them, and restive (late 16th century). Like reprieve, restive is a word whose meaning has been reversed. Its original meaning was ‘inclined to stay still, inert’. It was then applied particularly to a horse which remained stubbornly still or shifted from side to side instead of moving on. From this came the current meaning of ‘restless, fidgety’.

Words that rhyme with arrest

abreast, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ar·rest

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