attracting or capable of attracting attention or interest; striking: an arresting smile.
making or having made an arrest: the arresting officer.

Origin of arresting

Related formsar·rest·ing·ly, adverbnon·ar·rest·ing, adjectiveun·ar·rest·ing, adjective



verb (used with object)

to seize (a person) by legal authority or warrant; take into custody: The police arrested the burglar.
to catch and hold; attract and fix; engage: The loud noise arrested our attention.
to check the course of; stop; slow down: to arrest progress.
Medicine/Medical. to control or stop the active progress of (a disease): The new drug did not arrest the cancer.


the taking of a person into legal custody, as by officers of the law.
any seizure or taking by force.
an act of stopping or the state of being stopped: the arrest of tooth decay.
Machinery. any device for stopping machinery; stop.


    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

Synonyms for arrest

Synonym study

3. See stop. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for arresting

Contemporary Examples of arresting

Historical Examples of arresting

  • Shall we pray for a second Joshua, arresting the sun, pending deliberation?

  • I put a finger to my lips, and gave her a look by which I succeeded in arresting her.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Right in front of our eyes he was arresting Alex and signing our death warrants.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • I told you Naarboveck was out of reach as far as arresting him goes.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • “Wait,” said the Doctor, more gravely, arresting the movement with his index finger.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

British Dictionary definitions for arresting



attracting attention; striking
Derived Formsarrestingly, adverb


verb (tr)

to deprive (a person) of liberty by taking him into custody, esp under lawful authority
to seize (a ship) under lawful authority
to slow or stop the development or progress of (a disease, growth, etc)
to catch and hold (one's attention, sight, etc)
arrest judgment law to stay proceedings after a verdict, on the grounds of error or possible error
can't get arrested informal (of a performer) is unrecognized and unsuccessfulhe can't get arrested here but is a megastar in the States


the act of taking a person into custody, esp under lawful authority
the act of seizing and holding a ship under lawful authority
the state of being held, esp under lawful authorityunder arrest
Also called: arrestation (ˌærɛsˈteɪʃən) the slowing or stopping of the development or progress of something
the stopping or sudden cessation of motion of somethinga cardiac arrest

Word Origin for arrest

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 arresting

early 15c., "action of stopping" someone or something, verbal noun from arrest (v.).


"striking, that captures the imagination," 1792, present participle adjective from arrest (v.).



"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

arresting in Medicine




To stop; check.
To undergo cardiac arrest.


An interference with or a checking of the regular course of a disease or symptom, a stoppage.
Interference with the performance of a function.
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 arresting


see under arrest.

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