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A warrant (noun sense 4) issued on September 1, 1980, by the New York Army National Guard appointing someone as a sergeant

The noun is derived from Middle English warant (protector; guard, shield, protection), from Anglo-Norman warrant, Old Northern French warant, warand, a variant of Old French guarant, garant, garand (assurance, guarantee; authorization, permission; protector; protection, safety) (modern French garant),[1] from Frankish *warand, present participle of *warjan (to fend off; to stop, thwart). The word is cognate with Old High German werento (guarantor).

The verb is derived from Middle English warrant, waranten (to give protection; to protect, shield; to assure, pledge, promise; to guarantee), from Anglo-Norman warantir, warandir, warentir, and Old Northern French warandir, warantir, variant forms of Old French guarantir (to protect) (modern French garantir),[2] a Romance formation from the noun guarant: see above.



warrant (countable and uncountable, plural warrants)

  1. Authorization or certification; a sanction, as given by a superior.
  2. (countable) Something that provides assurance or confirmation; a guarantee or proof.
    a warrant of authenticity; a warrant for success
    • 1801, Thomas Scott, “Section II. Scriptural Proofs, that the Sinner Wants No Warrant for Believing in Christ, Except the Word of God.”, in The Warrant and Nature of Faith in Christ Considered, with Some Reference to the Various Controversies on that Subject, 2nd revised edition, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire: Printed by J. Seeley, sold by L. B. Seeley, [], OCLC 646795737, page 23:
      The brazen serpent, lifted up in the centre of Israel's camp, with the publick declaration of its use, was a sufficient warrant to every man, when bitten by a fiery serpent, to look unto it. But [...] if any looked without at all expecting a cure according to the word of the Lord, they must have perished; not for want of a warrant to believe; but because they did not submit to the wisdom and authority of God, or rely on his faithfulness and mercy, in this appointed way of preservation.
    • 1987, Garry Wills, Newsweek, volume 110, ISSN 0028-9604, OCLC 956023333, page 17, column 1:
      He almost gives his failings as a warrant for his greatness.
  3. (countable) An order that serves as authorization; especially a voucher authorizing payment or receipt of money.
    • 1535–1536, “Chapter XI. An Acte Conc̉nynge Clerkes of the Signet and Privie Seale. [27 Henry VIII., c. 11]”, in The Statutes, volume I (Henry III. to James II. A.D. 1235–6 – 1685), revised edition, London: Printed by George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, printers to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, published 1870, OCLC 5812559, page 458:
      And also be in enactid by the auctorite aforseid that no manꝰ [man's] clerke or clerkes or other parsone or parsones do wryte or make any maner of wryting warraunt or warrauntes, upon any maner gyfte or graunte made by the Kynges Highnes or by any other his Gracys offycers as aforsaide, [...]
    • 1553 September 24, “State Papers in the Reign of Queen Mary”, in Samuel Haynes, editor, A Collection of State Papers, Relating to Affairs in the Reigns of King Henry VIII. King Edward VI. Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, from the Year 1542 to 1570. [], London: Printed by William Bowyer, published 1740, OCLC 977124448, page 187:
      A Warraunt to Sir Edmond Peckham Knight, for twenty Pounds to be delivered to Fraunces Pitche, being ſent with Lettres to the Quene's Ambaſſador reſydent with the Frenche King.
  4. (finance, countable) An option, usually issued together with another security and with a term at issue greater than a year, to buy other securities of the issuer.
    • 1896, William A. Reid, “General Power to Incur Pecuniary Liability—Public Corporations”, in A Treatise on the Law Pertaining to Corporate Finance [] In Two Volumes, volume I, Albany, N.Y.: H. B. Parsons, law publisher, OCLC 679879643, § 12, page 18:
      But they [police juries] have no power to [...] issue promissory notes or warrants to cover funds which may be set aside for this purpose in future taxation without express authority from the supreme political power of the state.
    • 2015, Chris O’Malley, “Masters of the Market: 1979–1984”, in Bonds without Borders: A History of the Eurobond Market, Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 76:
      The first Eurobond offering was for Crédit National who issued $50m 13.75% five-year notes with six-month warrants to purchase the same principal amount of 13.75% ten-year bonds. The cum-warrant price of the note quickly rose to 105.5% in a rising market, yet the warrants alone were quoted at $15.
  5. (law, countable) A judicial writ authorizing an officer to make a search, seizure, or arrest, or to execute a judgment.
    an arrest warrant issued by the court
    • 1913 October 11, “The Bomb-making Charge. An Important Discussion.”, in The North-China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette: The Weekly Edition of the North-China Daily News, volume CIX (New Series), number 2409, Shanghai: Printed and published at the offices of the North-China Daily News & Herald, Ld., OCLC 662525861, pages 113–114:
      Mr. Musso said he desired to make an application at this stage on behalf of the accused, namely, that he be discharged on the ground that he was improperly held in custody, there being no warrant issued by the Court and no counter-signature to any warrant by the Senior-Consul. At the last hearing the fact was disclosed that the accused was arrested without a warrant.
  6. (military, countable) Short for warrant officer.
    • 2006, David R. Welsh, “Warrant Officer Associations over the Years: Chief Warrant Officers & Warrant Officers Association U.S. Coast Guard: 1919–Present”, in The Legacy of Leadership as a Warrant Officer, Nashville, Tenn.; Paducah, Ky.: Turner Publishing Company, →ISBN, page 40:
      [Dave T.] Daniels also stated that many supported the idea of an officers indoctrination course, with the aim of preparing warrants for broader responsibility.
    1. (countable) A certificate of appointment given to a warrant officer.
      • 1854, “The Old Sailor” [pseudonym; Matthew Henry Barker], “Harry Bartlett”, in Floating Remembrances and Sketches of a Sea Life, London: Whittaker and Co.; Simpkin, Marshall, and Co.; Nottingham, Nottinghamshire: Dearden, OCLC 503686880, page 86:
        Several days passed away, and at length down came an order for [Harry] Bartlett to go on shore and take up his warrant for a sloop of war that was then round at Plymouth, to which place he was to make all haste to join. [] "Well, my man," said Sir Joseph [Sydney Yorke], in his usual deliberative manner, "and so it has pleased the powers aloft to reward your deserts, and you are now a warrant officer."
  7. (New Zealand, road transport, countable) A document certifying that a motor vehicle meets certain standards of mechanical soundness and safety; a warrant of fitness.
    • 1968 October 22, Norman Eric Kirk, “Appropriation Bill—Estimates”, in Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): Second Session, Thirty-fifth Parliament: House of Representatives, volume 357, Wellington: A. R. Shearer, government printer, published 1969, OCLC 191255532, page 2502:
      Some years ago he had bought a motor vehicle with a warrant issued the same day only to find that the hand brake was not functioning properly and only one brake drum had any lining on it. He had recently heard of a similar case of a vehicle which had been issued with a warrant by the Christchurch City Council testing station, and the purchaser had to pay $60 to have the hand brake and hydraulic brake equipment fixed and the brakes relined.
  8. (obsolete, countable) A defender, a protector.
    • [a. 1472, Thomas Malory, “Capitulum secūdum”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book X, [London: [] by William Caxton], published 31 July 1485, OCLC 71490786, leaves 207, verso – 208, recto; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034, pages 414–415:
      And whanne I ſawe her makynge ſuche dole / I asked her who ſlewe her lorde ¶ Syre ſhe ſaid the falſest knyght of the world now lyuyng and he is the mooſt vylayne that euer man herd ſpeke of / and his name is ſir Breuſe ſaunce pyte / thenne for pyte I made the damoyſel to lepe on her palfroy / and I promyſed her to be her waraunt / and to helpe her to entyere her lord
      (please add an English translation of this quote)]
  9. (mining, uncountable) Underclay in a coal mine.
    Synonym: warren earth

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from warrant (noun)


  • Italian: warrant

Related terms[edit]

Terms related to warrant (noun)



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

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To protect, keep safe (from danger).
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To give (someone) an assurance or guarantee (of something); also, with a double object: to guarantee (someone something).
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Diet Rectified in Substance”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970, partition 2, section 2, member 1, subsection 1, page 200:
      Crato in a conſultation of his for a noble patient, tels him plainly, that if his Highneſſe will keepe but a good diet, hee will warrant him his former health.
    • 1855, [Isaac Ridler Butts], “[Marine Insurance.] Chapter II.”, in The Merchant’s, Shipmaster’s and Mate’s Manual, [], Boston, Mass.: Published by Isaac R. Butts, [], OCLC 37187900, page 63:
      The warranty that a ship shall sail on a given day must be strictly performed. Thus, if a ship, warranted to sail on or before a particular day, be prevented from sailing on that day by an embargo, the warranty is not complied with.
    • 1871, Donald Kennedy, “The Greatest Medical Discovery of the Age [advertisement]”, in Kennedy on Diseases of the Skin, 2nd edition, Roxbury, Mass.: Donald Kennedy, OCLC 34015292:
      One or two bottles are warranted to cure all humor in the eyes. Two bottles are warranted to cure running of the ears, and blotches among the hair.
  3. (transitive) To guarantee (something) to be (of a specified quality, value, etc.).
    • 1601, Ben Jonson, Poetaster or The Arraignment: [], London: [] [R. Bradock] for M[atthew] L[ownes] [], published 1602, OCLC 316392309, Act III, scene iv:
      Tuc[ca]. [...] Can thy Author doe it impudently enough? / Hiſt[rio]. O, I warrant you, Captaine: and ſpitefully inough too; he ha's one of the moſt ouerflowing villanous wits, in Rome. He will ſlander any man that breathes; If he diſguſt him. / Tucca. I'le know the poor, egregious, nitty Raſcall; and he haue ſuch commendable Qualities, I'le cheriſh him: [...]
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “Knights and Squires”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299, page 125:
      The chief mate of the Pequod was Starbuck, a native of Nantucket, and a Quaker by descent. [...] His pure tight skin was an excellent fit; and closely wrapped up in it, and embalmed with inner health and strength, like a revivified Egyptian, this Starbuck seemed prepared to endure for long ages to come, and to endure always, as now; for be it Polar snow or torrid sun, like a patent chronometer, his interior vitality was warranted to do well in all climates.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter I, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., [], [1933], OCLC 2666860, page 2:
      Thus the red damask curtains which now shut out the fog-laden, drizzling atmosphere of the Marylebone Road, had cost a mere song, and yet they might have been warranted to last another thirty years. A great bargain also had been the excellent Axminster carpet which covered the floor; [...]
  4. (transitive) To guarantee as being true; (colloquial) to believe strongly.
    That tree is going to fall, I’ll warrant.
  5. (transitive) To authorize; to give (someone) sanction or warrant (to do something).
    I am warranted to search these premises fully.
    • 1852–1855, Thomas Wright, chapter XII, in The History of Scotland; from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, volume II, London; New York, N.Y.: Printed and published by the London Printing and Publishing Company, OCLC 503929337, page 645, column 1:
      [S]ince by our commission we are not warranted to treat but with the noblemen named by his majesty with the advice of the peers, and are particularly warranted to make exception against the earl of Traquair, for his malversation in the matter of the assembly and parliament, [...]
  6. (transitive) To justify; to give grounds for.
    Circumstances arose that warranted the use of lethal force.
    • 1903 September 23, “Notes from the United States”, in W[illiam] H[enry] Maw and J[ames] Dredge [Jr.], editors, Engineering: An Illustrated Weekly Journal, London: Offices for advertisements and publication—35 & 36, Bedford Street, Strand, W.C., published 2 October 1903, OCLC 1019345848, page 456, column 3:
      A strong pressure was brought by consumers to this end; but neither the combinations nor the independent interests have felt that the pressure was sufficiently strong in warranting them in making a cut.
    • 1905 April 15, J. W. Midgley, “Private Cars. Why Private Car Lines were Overlooked—Thorough Investigation of Abuses Authorized. Circular Letter No. 38”, in The Railway and Engineering Review, volume XLV, number 15, Chicago, Ill.: Published [by Railway Review, Inc.] at 1305 Manhattan Building, OCLC 1821156, page 265, column 3:
      The fact, however, that astonishment has been expressed at the clamor described, warrants a review of incidents which precipitated the events referred to.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ warant, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 24 May 2018.
  2. ^ warenten, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 24 May 2018; compare “warantīen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 24 May 2018.

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from English warrant.


warrant m (invariable)

  1. warrant (document or certificate)