View synonyms for dragnet


[ drag-net ]


  1. a net to be drawn along the bottom of a river, pond, etc., or along the ground, to catch fish, small game, etc.
  2. a system or network for finding or catching someone, as a criminal wanted by the police.


/ ˈdræɡˌnɛt /


  1. a heavy or weighted net used to scour the bottom of a pond, river, etc, as when searching for something
  2. any system of coordinated efforts by police forces to track down wanted persons

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Word History and Origins

Origin of dragnet1

Middle English word dating back to 1535–45; drag, net 1, dray

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Example Sentences

The federal government sent a surge of intelligence and security forces to the southern border in what it dubbed Operation Secure Line, which ultimately led to the dragnet interrogations.

It appears more certain than ever that Beijing’s talk of laying down “red lines” is not intended to delineate limits of speech, but rather to ensnare opponents in a giant red dragnet.

From Quartz

“California casts a dragnet for sensitive donor information from tens of thousands of charities each year, even though that information will become relevant in only a small number of cases involving filed complaints,” Roberts wrote.

Software like Palantir’s casts a digital dragnet, with real-world implications, even if it exists out of sight.

However, the law has acted as a dragnet with miserable unintended consequences.

From Time

A new book “Dragnet Nation” asks hard questions about our online lives.

There are stretches in Dragnet Nation that are too obviously designed to scare, and parts feel paranoid.

As Julia Angwin notes in her new book, Dragnet Nation, the watershed year for tracking was 2001.

They were arrested at Cairo's Ramses Square on August 16, caught up in the dragnet of a mass arrest carried out by the military.

The companies implicated in the surveillance dragnet have mostly denied any involvement.

He had thrown out a dragnet of detectives and every suspicious character in the city was passing through it or landing in prison.

The Indulgence was a dragnet, drawing large hauls of hungry fish, and leaving them to squirm on the shores of sinful compromises.

I thank you cordially for the police protection afforded me while the chief had his dragnet in operation.

It moved on unostentatiously to other parts of the city and around it the Ranger dragnet tightened.

Gard immediately called upon the Chicago police to throw out a dragnet and a general alarm, and this was done.


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