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verb (used with object)
  1. to seize (a person) by legal authority or warrant; take into custody: The police arrested the burglar.
  2. to catch and hold; attract and fix; engage: The loud noise arrested our attention.
  3. to check the course of; stop; slow down: to arrest progress.
  4. Medicine/Medical. to control or stop the active progress of (a disease): The new drug did not arrest the cancer.
  1. the taking of a person into legal custody, as by officers of the law.
  2. any seizure or taking by force.
  3. an act of stopping or the state of being stopped: the arrest of tooth decay.
  4. Machinery. any device for stopping machinery; stop.
  1. under arrest, in custody of the police or other legal authorities: They placed the suspect under arrest at the scene of the crime.

Origin of arrest

1275–1325; (v.) Middle English aresten < Anglo-French, Middle French arester, < Vulgar Latin *arrestāre to stop (see ar-, rest2); (noun) Middle English arest(e) < Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of v.
Related formsar·rest·a·ble, adjectivear·rest·ment, nounpost·ar·rest, adjectivepre·ar·rest, verb (used with object)pre·ar·rest·ment, nounre·ar·rest, verb (used with object), nounun·ar·rest·a·ble, adjectiveun·ar·rest·ed, adjective


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. apprehend. 2. secure, rivet, occupy. 3. stay. 5. detention, apprehension, imprisonment. 7. stoppage, halt, stay, check.

Synonym study

3. See stop.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for arrested

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • This morning she was arrested by the thought that the plot she had planted was hers.

  • Now, when I'm arrested for speeding, I'm not in the least flustered—oh, not a little bit!

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • You were arrested in Buffalo, convicted, and served your stretch.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Does Garson know we've arrested the Turner girl and young Gilder?

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He was tired and broken, and resolved to stay in camp until they arrested him.

British Dictionary definitions for arrested


verb (tr)
  1. to deprive (a person) of liberty by taking him into custody, esp under lawful authority
  2. to seize (a ship) under lawful authority
  3. to slow or stop the development or progress of (a disease, growth, etc)
  4. to catch and hold (one's attention, sight, etc)
  5. arrest judgment law to stay proceedings after a verdict, on the grounds of error or possible error
  6. can't get arrested informal (of a performer) is unrecognized and unsuccessfulhe can't get arrested here but is a megastar in the States
  1. the act of taking a person into custody, esp under lawful authority
  2. the act of seizing and holding a ship under lawful authority
  3. the state of being held, esp under lawful authorityunder arrest
  4. Also called: arrestation (ˌærɛsˈteɪʃən) the slowing or stopping of the development or progress of something
  5. the stopping or sudden cessation of motion of somethinga cardiac arrest

Word Origin

C14: from Old French arester, from Vulgar Latin arrestāre (unattested), from Latin ad at, to + restāre to stand firm, stop
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for arrested


1610s, past participle adjective from arrest (v.). Arrested development is first recorded 1859 in evolutionary biology.



"to cause to stop," also "to detain legally," late 14c., from Old French arester "to stay, stop" (Modern French arrêter), from Vulgar Latin *arrestare (source of Italian arrestare, Spanish and Portuguese arrestar), from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + restare "to stop, remain behind, stay back" (see rest (n.2)). Figurative sense of "to catch and hold" (the attention, etc.) is from 1814.



late 14c., from Anglo-French arest, Old French areste, from arester (see arrest (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

arrested in Medicine


  1. To stop; check.
  2. To undergo cardiac arrest.
  1. An interference with or a checking of the regular course of a disease or symptom, a stoppage.
  2. Interference with the performance of a function.
  3. The inhibition of a developmental process, usually the ultimate stage of development.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with arrested


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.