from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
  • noun A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
  • noun The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Military service; warfare.
  • noun Soldiery; militants collectively.
  • noun Hence The whole body of men declared by law amenable to military service, without enlistment, whether armed and drilled or not.
  • noun A body of men enrolled and drilled according to military law, as an armed force, but not as regular soldiers, and called out in emergency for actual service and periodically for drill and exercise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun In the widest sense, the whole military force of a nation, including both those engaged in military service as a business, and those competent and available for such service; specifically, the body of citizens enrolled for military instruction and discipline, but not subject to be called into actual service except in emergencies.
  • noun obsolete Military service; warfare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun this sense?) An army.
  • noun in particular An army of trained civilians, which may be an official reserve army, called upon in time of need, the entire able-bodied population of a state which may also be called upon, or a private force not under government control.
  • noun The national police force of certain countries (e.g. Russia, Ukraine).

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

  • noun the entire body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service
  • noun civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army


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

[Latin mīlitia, warfare, military service, from mīles, mīlit-, soldier.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin mīlitia ("army, military force/service"), from mīles ("soldier").


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  • "The 6-foot, 3-inch, 220-pound Gladiator targets his opponents with tactical precision. With an impressive arsenal of skills at his disposal, he is well equipped for any operation and will do anything to complete his objective. Once Militia has you in his sights, you'd better have a plan, or the game is over."

    (Official biography on the NBC American Gladiators website)

    September 6, 2008

  • Know, then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,

    The light Militia of the lower sky:

    These, tho' unseen, are ever on the wing,

    Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring.

    - Alexander Pope, 'The Rape Of The Lock'.

    April 28, 2009

  • "The legislature required white men to drill with a militia in case of Indian attacks, and the resulting militia days offered another chance to imbibe.... Alcoholic beverages were such an intrinsic part of the militia muster that boys playing 'militia' ended their games with rounds of drinks."

    —Sarah Hand Meacham, Every Home a Distillery: Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 16

    June 9, 2010