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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.
Contemporary Examples

Tarantini and Devenuto were arrested last week, charged with blackmailing Berlusconi.
Silvio Slanders Italy Barbie Latza Nadeau September 3, 2011

Four people in the U.K. were arrested and they are due to plead in court later this month.
Anonymous Member Speaks About Divide in the Collective’s Mission Parmy Olson June 12, 2012

He was arrested multiple times holding a can of spray paint with his hands and mouth “smeared with the stuff.”
10 Shocking Bits From Book About How Texas Executed an Innocent Man Ben Jacobs May 15, 2012

Once she overcame her shock, Esfandiari realized she was arrested because she was perceived as an agent provocateur.
My Iranian Prison Sandra McElwaine September 24, 2009

Then, in September 2010, he was arrested under dubious circumstances and charged with possession of ecstasy.
T.I.’s Next Chapter Marlow Stern October 18, 2011

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.
Life and Death of Harriett Frean May Sinclair

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?
Adventures in Many Lands Various

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

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.)).

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

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.

see: under arrest


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  • Arresting

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

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