If you watch cop shows, you know that a warrant is something police need to get into your house — a permission slip from a judge.

It's a noun! It's a verb! It's a word that warrants our attention! As a noun, it's the piece of paper they show you through the keyhole during an investigation. It's also a reason for doing something, or a promise (think of the warranty on your new car, the promise that it'll work for a certain amount of time). As a verb, it means to make something seem reasonable or necessary, such as when the ticking suitcase warrants bringing in the bomb squad, or when the teenager's sneaking in late again warrants a stricter curfew.

Definitions of warrant
  1. noun
    formal and explicit approval
    synonyms: countenance, endorsement, imprimatur, indorsement, sanction
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    O.K., OK, okay, okeh, okey
    an endorsement
    an endorsement made in a passport that allows the bearer to enter the country issuing it
    nihil obstat
    the phrase used by the official censor of the Roman Catholic Church to say that a publication has been examined and contains nothing offensive to the church
    type of:
    approval, commendation
    a message expressing a favorable opinion
  2. noun
    a written assurance that some product or service will be provided or will meet certain specifications
    synonyms: guarantee, warrantee, warranty
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    security, surety
    a guarantee that an obligation will be met
    a payment given as a guarantee that an obligation will be met
    stock warrant
    a written certificate that gives the holder the right to purchase shares of a stock for a specified price within a specified period of time
    type of:
    assurance, pledge
    a binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something
  3. noun
    a writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts
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    search warrant
    a warrant authorizing law enforcement officials to search for objects or people involved in the commission of a crime and to produce them in court; the warrant describes the locations where the officials may search
    arrest warrant, bench warrant
    a warrant authorizing law enforcement officials to apprehend an offender and bring that person to court
    death warrant
    a warrant to execute the death sentence
    cachet, lettre de cachet
    a warrant formerly issued by a French king who could warrant imprisonment or death in a signed letter under his seal
    a warrant granting postponement (usually to postpone the execution of the death sentence)
    a warrant substituting a lesser punishment for a greater one
    amnesty, pardon
    a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
    a warrant to take someone into custody
    type of:
    judicial writ, writ
    (law) a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer
  4. noun
    a type of security issued by a corporation (usually together with a bond or preferred stock) that gives the holder the right to purchase a certain amount of common stock at a stated price
    “as a sweetener they offered warrants along with the fixed-income securities”
    synonyms: stock warrant, stock-purchase warrant
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    perpetual warrant
    a warrant with no expiration date
    subscription warrant
    a warrant that expires on a stipulated date
    type of:
    security, surety
    property that your creditor can claim in case you default on your obligation
  5. noun
    (rhetoric) an assumption or underlying belief that connects evidence to a claim
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    type of:
    assumption, premise, premiss
    a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn
  6. verb
    show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for
    synonyms: justify
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    type of:
    confirm, reassert
    strengthen or make more firm
  7. verb
    stand behind and guarantee the quality, accuracy, or condition of
    “The dealer warrants all the cars he sells”
    “I warrant this information”
    synonyms: guarantee
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    cover, insure, underwrite
    protect by insurance
    certify, endorse, indorse
    guarantee as meeting a certain standard
    insure again by assuming all or a part of the liability of an insurance company already covering a risk
    secure against future loss, damage, or liability; give security for
    type of:
    back, endorse, indorse, plump for, plunk for, support
    be behind; approve of
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