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See also: drag-net



From drag +‎ net, probably based on the model of Middle English draynet, dreynett (dragnet), Old English dræġnet, dræġnett, equivalent to dray +‎ net.


dragnet (plural dragnets)

  1. (fishing) A net dragged across the bottom of a body of water.
    • 2000, Transition to Responsible Fisheries Economic and Policy Implications[1], OECD Publishing, →ISBN, page 228:
      Anchovy dragnets are an important part Korea's fishing sector. Over 99% of catches found in anchovy dragnets are anchovy. Although the annual total catches of anchovy have fluctuated, dragnets catch 55 to 70% of the total annual catch of anchovy. The remaining portion is caught with drift gill nets (10%) and other fishing methods.
  2. (law enforcement) Heightened efforts by law-enforcement personnel to capture suspects.
    • 2013 July 26, Leo Hickman, “How algorithms rule the world”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 7, page 26:
      The use of algorithms in policing is one example of their increasing influence on our lives. [] who, if anyone, is policing their use[?] Such concerns were sharpened further by the continuing revelations about how the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been using algorithms to help it interpret the colossal amounts of data it has collected from its covert dragnet of international telecommunications.



dragnet (third-person singular simple present dragnets, present participle dragnetting, simple past and past participle dragnetted)

  1. (fishing) To drag a net across the bottom of a body of water.
    • 2013, Andrews, Brian, Ornamental Fish Farming:
      When ponds are cleaned out periodically, fish are trapped or dragnetted and finally the pond is drained to remove all fish.
  2. (law enforcement) To make heightened efforts to catch a suspect.
    • 2010, O'Donoghue, Florence, IRA Jailbreaks 1918-1921[2], →ISBN, page 164:
      In fact, Carty was not the man, but, after a police swoop had dragnetted twenty men suspected of having taken part in the business, he was lodged in Sligo jail and accused of this violence to the lady.
    • 2013 September 19, Black, Audrey, “Targeting Oppression”, in Eugene Weekly[3]:
      A May Day anti-capitalist protest last year in Seattle saw clashes between police and protesters, and the FBI had been dragnetting potential anarchists.