To frisk someone is to search them, usually for weapons. It’s typical for a crime show to portray a police officer frisking a suspect.

The purpose of frisking is to find out if someone is carrying a particular kind of item. The person doing the frisking may be looking for weapons or a recording device. Another meaning of frisk is more light-hearted: “to play in an enthusiastic manner.” Kids running around a playground are frisking. If you say there’s frisking going on in a nearby park, you might want to clarify which meaning you’re indicating.

Definitions of frisk
  1. verb
    search as for concealed weapons by running the hands rapidly over the clothing and through the pockets
    “The police frisked everyone at the airport”
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    type of:
    subject to a search
  2. noun
    the act of searching someone for concealed weapons or illegal drugs
    “he gave the suspect a quick frisk
    synonyms: frisking
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    strip search
    searching someone for concealed weapons or illegal drugs by having them remove their clothes
    type of:
    hunt, hunting, search
    the activity of looking thoroughly in order to find something or someone
  3. verb
    play boisterously
    synonyms: cavort, disport, frolic, gambol, lark, lark about, rollick, romp, run around, skylark, sport
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    type of:
    be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children
Word Family