Bear arms

Usually, arms. weapons, especially firearms.
arms, Heraldry. the escutcheon, with its divisions, charges, and tinctures, and the other components forming an achievement that symbolizes and is reserved for a person, family, or corporate body; armorial bearings; coat of arms.
to enter into a state of hostility or of readiness for war.
to equip with weapons:
to arm the troops.
to activate (a fuze) so that it will explode the charge at the time desired.
to cover protectively.
to provide with whatever will add strength, force, or security; support; fortify:
He was armed with statistics and facts.
to equip or prepare for any specific purpose or effective use:
to arm a security system; to arm oneself with persuasive arguments.
to prepare for action; make fit; ready.
bear arms,

to carry weapons.
to serve as a member of the military or of contending forces:
His religious convictions kept him from bearing arms, but he served as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross.

take up arms, to prepare for war; go to war:
to take up arms against the enemy.
under arms, ready for battle; trained and equipped:
The number of men under arms is no longer the decisive factor in warfare.
up in arms, ready to take action; indignant; outraged:
There is no need to get up in arms over such a trifle.
Contemporary Examples

Fighting gun crime aggressively does not have to be inconsistent with the individual right to bear arms.
Worse Than the War John Avlon April 8, 2009

New York, Maryland, and Connecticut have passed reforms that do not infringe upon the right to bear arms.
Pro-Gun Absolutism: The Gun Lobby’s Push to Privatize Law and Order Will Marshall April 8, 2013

The Second Amendment protects the right of U.S. citizens to keep and bear arms.
11 Things Harder to Get Than Guns: Abortion, Drugs & More Lauren Streib December 16, 2012

Yes, we have to tread lightly with gun regulation: the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected.
What If We Treated Guns Like Cars? David Frum September 16, 2013

In the 2000 election, the NRA furiously denounced Al Gore as an enemy of the right to keep and bear arms.
For Obama, Romney, and America, Gun Control Is Dead Robert Shrum July 23, 2012

Historical Examples

I may be locked, up for the sake of the liberty of the people; I may, under sentence, incur the loss of the right to bear arms.
The Ego and His Own Max Stirner

Shih: a gentleman entitled to bear arms, not a knight in armour.
The Sayings Of Confucius Confucius

Kuteibe hastened back, plundered the city, destroyed it, killed all the men able to bear arms.
Sketches of Central Asia (1868) Arminius Vmbry

There are judged to be about eight hundred persons able to bear arms, all Spaniards.
Great Pirate Stories Various

All men fit to bear arms were required to bring their pieces to the church on occasion of public worship.
History of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia Charles Campbell

(in man) either of the upper limbs from the shoulder to the wrist related adjective brachial
the part of either of the upper limbs from the elbow to the wrist; forearm

the corresponding limb of any other vertebrate
an armlike appendage of some invertebrates

an object that covers or supports the human arm, esp the sleeve of a garment or the side of a chair, sofa, etc
anything considered to resemble an arm in appearance, position, or function, esp something that branches out from a central support or larger mass: an arm of the sea, the arm of a record player
an administrative subdivision of an organization: an arm of the government
power; authority: the arm of the law
any of the specialist combatant sections of a military force, such as cavalry, infantry, etc
(nautical) See yardarm
(sport) especially (ball games) ability to throw or pitch: he has a good arm
(informal) an arm and a leg, a large amount of money
arm in arm, with arms linked
at arm’s length, at a distance; away from familiarity with or subjection to another
(informal) give one’s right arm, to be prepared to make any sacrifice
in the arms of Morpheus, sleeping
with open arms, with great warmth and hospitality: to welcome someone with open arms
(transitive) (archaic) to walk arm in arm with
verb (transitive)
to equip with weapons as a preparation for war
to provide (a person or thing) with something that strengthens, protects, or increases efficiency: he armed himself against the cold

to activate (a fuse) so that it will explode at the required time
to prepare (an explosive device) for use by introducing a fuse or detonator

(nautical) to pack arming into (a sounding lead)
(usually pl) a weapon, esp a firearm
adjustable rate mortgage

“upper limb,” Old English earm “arm,” from Proto-Germanic *armaz (cf. Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Middle Dutch, German arm, Old Norse armr, Old Frisian erm), from PIE root *ar- “fit, join” (cf. Sanskrit irmah “arm,” Armenian armukn “elbow,” Old Prussian irmo “arm,” Greek arthron “a joint,” Latin armus “shoulder”). Arm of the sea was in Old English. Arm-twister “powerful persuader” is from 1938. Arm-wrestling is from 1899.

They wenten arme in arme yfere Into the gardyn [Chaucer]

“weapon,” c.1300, armes (plural) “weapons of a warrior,” from Old French armes (plural), “arms, war, warfare,” mid-13c., from Latin arma “weapons” (including armor), literally “tools, implements (of war),” from PIE root *ar- “fit, join” (see arm (n.1)). The notion seems to be “that which is fitted together.” Meaning “heraldic insignia” (in coat of arms, etc.) is early 14c.; originally they were borne on shields of fully armed knights or barons.

“to furnish with weapons,” c.1200, from Old French armer or directly from Latin armare, from arma (see arm (n.2)). Related: Armed; arming.

arm 1 (ärm)
An upper limb of the human body, connecting the hand and wrist to the shoulder.


A police officer


highflag (Cabdrivers)

Related Terms

as long as your arm, crooked arm, one-arm bandit, ride the arm, stiff, twist someone’s arm

[police sense fr arm of the law]
adjustable rate mortgage
Alien Resistance Movement
antiradiation missile
Armenia (international vehicle ID)

used to denote power (Ps. 10:15; Ezek. 30:21; Jer. 48:25). It is also used of the omnipotence of God (Ex. 15:16; Ps. 89:13; 98:1; 77:15; Isa. 53:1; John 12:38; Acts 13:17)

arm and a leg
arm in arm


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