Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of warrant


  1. To guarantee esp. by giving assurances that make one liable or responsible: as
    • a: to give a warranty (as of title) to
    • b: to protect or assure by warranty
    • c: to state as a warranty: guarantee to be as represented
  2. a: To authorize by a warrant

    b: To serve as or give adequate reason or authorization for
  3. To give proof of the authenticity or truth of


  1. "warranty"
  2. A commission or document giving authority to do something: as

    a: an order from one person (as an official) to another to pay public funds to a designated person

    b: a writ issued esp. by a judicial official (as a magistrate) authorizing an officer (as a sheriff) to perform a specified act required for the administration of justice
  3. a: A short-term obligation of a governmental body (as a municipality) issued in anticipation of revenue

    b: An instrument issued by a corporation giving to the holder the right to purchase the capital stock of the corporation at a stated price either prior to a stipulated date or at any future time

See also

Definition of warrant


Etymology 1

    From Old Northern French warant, warand ( = Old French guarant > modern garant), present participle of a Romance verb from Frankish *warjan.


warrant (plural warrants)

  1. Authorization or certification; sanction, as given by a superior.
  2. Something that provides assurance or confirmation; a guarantee or proof: a warrant of authenticity; a warrant for success.

    He almost gives his failings as a warrant for his greatness (Garry Wills).

  3. An order that serves as authorization, especially: A voucher authorizing payment or receipt of money.
  4. (law) A judicial writ authorizing an officer to make a search, seizure, or arrest or to execute a judgment.

    arrest warrant issued by Thai supreme court

  5. A warrant officer.
  6. A certificate of appointment given to a warrant officer.
  7. (finance) An option, usually with a term at issue greater than a year, usually issued together with another security, to buy other securities of the issuer.
  8. (New Zealand) A Warrant of Fitness; a document certifying that a motor vehicle meets certain standards of safety and mechanical soundness.

Etymology 2

    From Old Northern French warantir, warandir ( = Old French guarantir modern garantir), a Romance formation from the noun, Etymology 1, above.


warrant (third-person singular simple present warrants, present participle warranting, simple past and past participle warranted)

  1. (transitive) To guarantee (something) to be (of a specified quality, value etc.).
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To give (someone) a guarantee or assurance (of something); also, with double object, to guarantee (someone something).
  3. (transitive) To authorize; to give (someone) warrant or sanction (to do something).

    I am warranted to search these premises fully.

  4. (transitive) To justify; to give grounds for.

    Circumstances arose that warranted the use of lethal force.

Further reading

Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is performed.

Warrants are typically issued by courts and are directed to the sheriff, constable or a police officer. Warrants normally issued by a court include search warrants, arrest warrants, and execution warrants. A typical arrest warrant in the United States will take the approximate form of: "This Court orders the Sheriff or Constable to find the named person, wherever he may be found, and deliver said person to the custody of the Court."

Warrants are also issued by other government entities, particularly legislatures, since most have the power to compel the attendance of their members. This is called a call of the house.

Types of warrant

  • Arrest warrant, issued by a judge to detain someone
  • Warrant of committal, issued by a judge ordering enforcement of a previous order against a uncooperative person or corporation
  • Warrant of delivery, civil writ issued by a judge ordering property delivered to a named person
  • Warrant of execution, writ issued by a judge allowing law enforcement officers to seize property
  • Execution warrant, writ issued by a judge authorizing the death of someone
  • Warrant of possession, Australian judge order to terminate a residential real estate tenancy
  • Possessory warrant, civil writ issued by a judge ordering property delivered to a named person
  • Search warrant, writ issued by a judge allowing law enforcement officers to look inside a property


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Translation of warrant in Malay



  1. waran


1.     landed property
2.     common stock
3.     lex situs
4.     lex causae
5.     lex fori
6.     status quo
7.     buggery
8.     conclusive presumption
9.     interlocutory
10.     writ of seizure and sale