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[uh-rest] /əˈrɛst/
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 forms
arrestable, adjective
arrestment, noun
postarrest, adjective
prearrest, verb (used with object)
prearrestment, noun
rearrest, verb (used with object), noun
unarrestable, adjective
unarrested, adjective
1. apprehend. 2. secure, rivet, occupy. 3. stay. See stop. 5. detention, apprehension, imprisonment. 7. stoppage, halt, stay, check. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for arrested
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The grace of the speaker, and the mystic quality of the thing spoken, arrested him.'

    A Handful of Stars Frank W. Boreham
  • This morning she was arrested by the thought that the plot she had planted was hers.

  • What if he had made us pay for the damage you did, or had had you arrested?

    At the Little Brown House Ruth Alberta Brown
  • Now, when I'm arrested for speeding, I'm not in the least flustered—oh, not a little bit!

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • And the man you have arrested, do you think he is connected with the men who were fighting in the Museum?

British Dictionary definitions for arrested


verb (transitive)
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)
(law) arrest judgment, to stay proceedings after a verdict, on the grounds of error or possible error
(informal) can't get arrested, (of a performer) is unrecognized and unsuccessful: he 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 authority: under arrest
Also called arrestation (ˌærɛsˈteɪʃən). the slowing or stopping of the development or progress of something
the stopping or sudden cessation of motion of something: a 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
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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
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arrested in Medicine

arrest ar·rest (ə-rěst')
v. ar·rest·ed, ar·rest·ing, ar·rests

  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.
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Idioms and Phrases with arrested


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