quo warranto

[ kwoh waw-ran-toh, wo- ]
/ kwoʊ wɔˈræn toʊ, wɒ- /

noun Law.

(formerly, in England) a writ calling upon a person to show by what authority he or she claims an office, franchise, or liberty.
(in England and the U.S.) a trial, hearing, or other legal proceeding initiated to determine by what authority one has an office, franchise, or liberty.
the pleading initiating such a proceeding.

Origin of quo warranto

1250–1300; Middle English < Medieval Latin quō warrantō by what warrant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for quo warranto

quo warranto

/ (ˈkwəʊ wɒˈræntəʊ) /


law a proceeding initiated to determine or (formerly) a writ demanding by what authority a person claims an office, franchise, or privilege

Word Origin for quo warranto

from Medieval Latin: by what warrant
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 quo warranto

quo warranto

Medieval Latin, literally "by what warrant," from quo "from, with, or by whom or what?," ablative of interrogative pronoun quis "who?" (see who).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper