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

n formal and explicit approval

countenance, endorsement, imprimatur, indorsement, sanction
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

n a written assurance that some product or service will be provided or will meet certain specifications

guarantee, warrantee, warranty
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

n 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

n 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”
stock warrant, stock-purchase warrant
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

v show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for

“The emergency does not warrant all of us buying guns”
Type of:
confirm, reassert
strengthen or make more firm

v stand behind and guarantee the quality, accuracy, or condition of

“The dealer warrants all the cars he sells”
“I warrant this information”
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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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