from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To stop; check: a brake that automatically arrests motion; arrested the growth of the tumor.
  • transitive v. To seize and hold under the authority of law.
  • transitive v. To capture and hold briefly (the attention, for example); engage.
  • intransitive v. To undergo cardiac arrest: The patient arrested en route to the hospital.
  • n. The act of detaining in legal custody: the arrest of a criminal suspect.
  • n. The state of being so detained: a criminal under arrest.
  • n. A device for stopping motion, especially of a moving part.
  • n. The act of stopping or the condition of being stopped.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A check, stop, an act or instance of arresting something.
  • n. The condition of being stopped, standstill.
  • n. The act of arresting a criminal, suspect etc.
  • n. A confinement, detention, as after an arrest.
  • n. A device to physically arrest motion.
  • n. The judicial detention of a ship to secure a financial claim against its operators.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To stop; to check or hinder the motion or action of
  • transitive v. To take, seize, or apprehend by authority of law.
  • transitive v. To seize on and fix; to hold; to catch.
  • transitive v. To rest or fasten; to fix; to concentrate.
  • intransitive v. To tarry; to rest.
  • n. The act of stopping, or restraining from further motion, etc.; stoppage; hindrance; restraint.
  • n. The taking or apprehending of a person by authority of law; legal restraint; custody. Also, a decree, mandate, or warrant.
  • n. Any seizure by power, physical or moral.
  • n. A scurfiness of the back part of the hind leg of a horse; -- also named rat-tails.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To stop forcibly; check or hinder the motion or action of: as, to arrest the current of a river; to arrest the course of justice.
  • To take, seize, or apprehend by virtue of a legal warrant or official authority; take into custody: as, to arrest one for a crime or misdemeanor.
  • To seize and fix; engage; secure; catch; take: as, to arrest the eyes or the attention.
  • To rest or fix.
  • In Scots and admiralty law, to seize (property) for debt or the satisfaction of a claim; attach or levy upon.
  • n. The act of stopping, or the state of being stopped; suspension of movement or action: as, an arrest of the vital functions; “the stop and arrest of the air,” Bacon.
  • n. Self-restraint; self-command.
  • n. Any seizure or taking by force, physical or moral; hindrance; interruption; stoppage; restraint.
  • n. In machinery, any contrivance which stops or retards motion.
  • n. In law, the taking of a person into custody of the law, usually by virtue of a warrant from authority.
  • n. In admiralty law, the taking of a ship into custody by virtue of a warrant from a court.—
  • n. In Scots law, attachment; seizure of property, funds, etc., by legal process, as for debt or the satisfaction of a claim.
  • n. A mangy tumor on the back part of the hind leg of a horse. Also called rat-tail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. take into custody
  • v. hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of
  • v. cause to stop
  • v. attract and fix
  • n. the state of inactivity following an interruption
  • n. the act of apprehending (especially apprehending a criminal)


Middle English aresten, from Old French arester, from Vulgar Latin *arrestāre : Latin ad-, ad- + Latin restāre, to stand still (re-, re- + stāre, to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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 Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (“to stand”). (Wiktionary)



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