Definition of arms in English:

arms

plural noun

  • 1Weapons; armaments.

    ‘arms and ammunition’
    as modifier ‘arms exports’
    • ‘Now after the election we need a big campaign to stop any new expenditure on nuclear arms.’
    • ‘The leaders of both North and South Korea wished to unite the country by force of arms.’
    • ‘Eight men in total turned their arms and Kay, the last of them, filed the best return.’
    • ‘Shipments of gold, arms and food had been sent to the mountain region on a regular basis.’
    • ‘What kind of war was the French army expecting and how was it intending to use its arms?’
    weapons, weapons of war, weaponry, firearms, guns, ordnance, cannon, artillery, armaments, munitions, instruments of war, war machines, military supplies, materiel
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  • 2Distinctive emblems or devices originally borne on shields in battle and now forming the heraldic insignia of families, corporations, or countries.

    • ‘Other princes and princesses fly a standard with the royal arms in an ermine border.’
    crest, emblem, heraldic device, coat of arms, armorial bearing, insignia, escutcheon, shield, heraldry, blazonry
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Phrases

  • bear arms

    • 1Possess or carry a weapon.

      ‘the right to bear arms’
      • ‘The athletes will be gearing up in their shooting clothing and bearing arms if they're entering the clay target events.’
      • ‘A series of orders were passed which compelled them to sell their assets, pay all their outstanding debts immediately and, most ominously, barred them from bearing arms.’
      • ‘She enforced a rule that soldiers were not allowed to enter the house bearing arms of any kind.’
      • ‘He called for millions of gun-owners to "stand and fight" against attempts to regulate their right to bear arms.’
      • ‘A wide majority of American voters agree that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.’
      • ‘They're not actually covered by any legal framework that allows them to both bear arms and particularly to return fire.’
      • ‘With freedom to bear arms comes responsibility.’
      • ‘Back then only noblemen were allowed to bear arms.’
      • ‘Only law officers could legally bear arms.’
      • ‘The nature and scope of the right to bear arms will remain contentious in the United States.’
      1. 1.1Participate in military operations as a member of the armed forces.
        ‘those who had a conscientious objection to bearing arms were freed from military service’
        • ‘At the higher, abstract level, there is no persuasive evidence that the country has abandoned the ideal that citizens should bear arms in their country's defense.’
        • ‘Whenever the government has employed compulsory military training or service, it has been confronted by those who, on principle, refuse to bear arms.’
        • ‘It is still treason to bear arms for the Queen's enemies whether or not you have fired those arms.’
        • ‘After two days of fighting only ninety could still bear arms.’
        • ‘He could only plea with them to distinguish between combatants and those innocent civilians who do not bear arms.’
        • ‘They have never from choice borne arms nor sought distinction in military prowess.’
        • ‘He can lawfully perform service in the hospitals of the Army in lieu of bearing arms.’
        • ‘His father broke peace with us and bore arms against us.’
        • ‘All those capable of bearing arms—both young boys and old men—had been mustered for the decisive battle.’
        • ‘In the chaos of field conditions, protection for of those not bearing arms is often ill-defined.’
  • a call to arms

    • A call to defend or make ready for confrontation.

      ‘it is understood as a call to arms to defend against a takeover’
      • ‘Wiltshire's military might is ready, willing and more than able to answer any call to arms if there is a war with Iraq.’
      • ‘Only 130 of the 500 members of his battalion answered the call to arms.’
      • ‘They have been roused to action following a passionate call to arms by Colonel of the Regiment Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter.’
      • ‘Incitement to violence should be treated as an offence, irrespective of whether the incitement involves calls to arms against people with different views or with a different amount of melanin in their skins.’
      • ‘Patriotism is a call to arms to defend yourself against someone else because they do not think like you.’
      • ‘These were the first soldiers ever to have been enlisted at the call to arms and by a United States Government.’
      • ‘Most of the West's ‘proscribed terrorist organisations’ maintain web pages that let them bypass the media and publish press releases, galleries of ‘martyrs’ and calls to arms, often in English.’
      • ‘Sharon Pollock's latest play, The Making of Warriors sounds like it should be about war, but it's a call to arms of a different sort.’
      • ‘We begin tonight with a new call to arms by President Bush on the global war on terrorists and radical Islamists.’
      • ‘So the call to arms that he delivered has - for the moment - failed and we should recognise that fact before granting him a propaganda victory.’
      • ‘When she wrote her book, she set out to document something, and yet it has been received as a call to arms by those who were ready for one.’
      • ‘Instead it seems to act more as the fiery torch that keeps the impressionable, who only cheer for the good guys, ready for the call to arms.’
      • ‘Bush continued his own regime of pressure to win over a still unsure American public when his routine weekly radio message was in effect turned into a call to arms.’
      • ‘There has not been bloodshed, not been a mass call to arms, among the Shia and Kurdish groups.’
      • ‘It is true the Constitution contains no revolutionary calls to arms.’
      • ‘It was a tragic end to what started as a call to arms to defend the country's sovereignty, to perform a state duty.’
      • ‘The enemy wants to make Iraqis afraid to join security forces, but every week more and more Iraqis answer the call to arms.’
      • ‘Mason raises points that deserve to be calls to arms for the Irish software community.’
      • ‘Predictably, she closes with the mandatory anti-establishment requirement, the desperate call to arms.’
      • ‘The right is sounding the call to arms, while the left, as always, is offering excuses at best, and at worst, apologies.’
  • in arms

    • Armed; prepared to fight.

  • lay down (one's) arms

    • see lay
      • ‘Offers from Khartoum of federal autonomy failed to persuade the increasingly active guerrillas to lay down their arms.’
      • ‘If you and your fellows lay down your arms, you will not be harmed.’
      • ‘What was unusual was this: In honour of the forthcoming Olympic games, both sides agreed to lay down their arms and allow participants to pass through enemy territory unharmed.’
      • ‘And if the Palestinian people eventually agree to lay down their arms, this should serve to keep extremist organizations in check.’
      • ‘Hakimi declared that no Taliban would agree to lay down his arms as long as U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.’
      • ‘But, the Marines' natural aggressiveness has been tempered with the knowledge that the battle is against Hussein and his soldiers who choose to fight, not with the Iraqi people or those who lay down their arms.’
      • ‘‘We have reports of approximately 2,500 soldiers of the Iraqi Republican Guard laying down their arms in their confrontation with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force,’ Capt. Thorp said, citing reports from the Marines.’
      • ‘The 15 were handed over to Kuwaiti police after laying down their arms and giving up, said Captain Darrin Theriault, headquarters company commander of the First Brigade of the US Army's Third Infantry Division.’
      • ‘A decade after laying down their arms, the Contras and the Sandinistas are squaring off in an election that could return Daniel Ortega to power.’
      • ‘On Monday, Egyptian mediators went home without a firm agreement from Hamas and other militant groups to lay down their arms, but Palestinian officials said they are confident a deal can be reached in coming days.’
      • ‘And the Republicans, I guess, will be so shocked and awed that they will lay down their arms and capitulate.’
      • ‘Speaking by satellite phone from deep inside Afghanistan, the general said that Taliban units were now laying down their arms, and that a three-pronged offensive was closing on the strategic city of Mazar-e-Sharif.’
      • ‘A senior U.S. official said earlier this month that American authorities have negotiated with key Sunni leaders, who are in turn talking with insurgents and trying to persuade them to lay down their arms.’
      • ‘Reconstruction of Iraq can only begin when the resistance is either killed off or lays down their arms.’
      • ‘He is willing to give the formula for free to any country that asks, provided that they agree to lay down their arms and live in peace.’
      • ‘Through megaphones, voices in broken English blared out at them, urging them to surrender and lay down their arms.’
      • ‘Retired Major General Robert Harris, from Pennsylvania, who has two sons currently on a mission to Afghanistan, said that during the Gulf War the unit's broadcasts urged the Iraqis to lay down their arms and surrender.’
      • ‘The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 declared that in modern warfare fighting men who laid down their arms were to be decently treated; the Geneva Convention of 1929 spelled out the details.’
      • ‘Typically, this category includes members of a military who have not laid down their arms as well as others who are fighting or approaching a battle, directing an attack, or defending a position.’
  • take up arms

    • Begin fighting.

      ‘local people took up arms to fight a dam proposed by the government’
      • ‘Their inhabitants fled after similar attacks, according to rebels in the region who took up arms against the Arab government in Khartoum in February last year.’
      • ‘The latest war in Sudan erupted when southern rebels took up arms against the predominantly Arab and Muslim northern government in a bid to obtain greater autonomy for the largely animist and Christian south.’
      • ‘‘Some people say they would be happy to take up arms and fight,’ one envoy said.’
      • ‘Only socialism has the power to unite the American people who despise war and oppression and who first took up arms in the struggle for freedom and equality over two centuries ago.’
      • ‘What it means is that we do not take up arms to attack others.’
      • ‘Pointing to one of our articles, he said, ‘Young people are taking up arms and going to fight because you write this kind of stuff.’’
      • ‘To many Britons, including government politicians, they are traitors, willing to take up arms to fight the armed forces of the country they grew up in.’
      • ‘Many aided the Rangers, supplying carts and food, and often taking up arms to join in the fight against the Japanese.’
      • ‘As she observed, ‘the purpose of detention is to prevent captured individuals from returning to the field of battle and taking up arms once again.’’
      • ‘The government estimates some 1 million Liberians have been displaced by the war, which began in 1999 when rebels took up arms against Taylor.’
      • ‘Rebels took up arms against Taylor in 1999, however, battling their way to the capital in June and forcing the cornered president into exile in Nigeria two months later.’
      • ‘Likewise, when the US attempted to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr, it enraged the ghetto Shiite youth, many of whom took up arms against the US forces for the first time.’
      • ‘I took up arms and fought the corrupt military and government.’
      • ‘The Conventions also establish the criteria that must be met in order to qualify as a lawful combatant taking up arms for the state.’
      • ‘Certainly, Colombo residents Kumudini Samuel and Chandragupta Thenuwara are more likely to join an anti-war protest than to take up arms.’
      • ‘Walsh added that it was an affront to all those who took up arms during the War of Independence and died in the fight to remove the British from this country.’
      • ‘He took up arms with the Earl of Mar, but after the battle of Sheriffmuir he was forced to flee the country.’
      • ‘The war is southern Sudan erupted in 1983 when black African rebels took up arms to fight Khartoum-based Islamic governments.’
      • ‘Some of the others managed to take up arms and a battle began between those who only hours earlier had been allies.’
      • ‘I would like to dedicate this day to the memory of a young woman, barely in her twenties, who took up arms in 1978 to fight for the liberation of Palestine.’
      fight, do battle, give battle, wage war, go to war, make war
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  • under arms

    • Equipped and ready for war or battle.

      ‘the country had up to one million men under arms’
      • ‘Much of Europe's defense spending goes to keeping large numbers of semi-skilled soldiers under arms, rather than providing modern equipment or high-tech training.’
      • ‘They have more men and women under arms than we have in the police service.’
      • ‘The Butah Brigades have an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 men under arms.’
      • ‘China seems a possibility, but one has to wonder if the United States would ever risk placing a major force ashore in a country as vast as China and one with over a billion people, some three million of whom are under arms.’
      • ‘Ninety members of the tribe are currently under arms, with 30 deployed in Iraq.’
      • ‘Though Nguyen Van Thieu still had over a million men under arms, his forces collapsed in panic, with soldiers trying desperately to reach any port to escape.’
      • ‘The ministry, with about 1 million men under arms, is the country's largest armed forces agency.’
      • ‘Although the country has a defence budget broadly equivalent to that of Switzerland, there are 1.35 million people under arms.’
      • ‘Even though they have not been required to reduce their conventional forces, the destruction of weapons and economic difficulties have led to a substantial reduction of men under arms.’
      • ‘Though the war ended almost 30 years ago, Vietnam still has nearly half a million men under arms.’
      • ‘When you have a million and a half men under arms, you have a tinder box.’
      • ‘The active duty Israeli Defense Force is fairly small, with only about 150,000 men and women under arms.’
      • ‘In general, the French tended to be more impatient for some kind of action than the British because with 2.7 million Frenchmen under arms they feared that total inactivity would demoralize the population.’
      • ‘You do not have that problem in the army, because they understand that they are men under arms, observing rank and grade.’
      • ‘How many men do they still have under arms, and what are they doing?’
      • ‘The country would have a full draft, with probably at least two million under arms.’
      • ‘If you are a state maintaining a million men under arms, in all sorts of places in the world, doing principally peacekeeping functions, you have to ask yourself to what degree this imposes greater cost on our missions.’
      • ‘Even so, by the outbreak of war in 1939 Germany had more than 4.5 million men under arms, including those in training.’
      • ‘He can fairly claim that at the time of capture he was under arms as a foreign volunteer for a sovereign government which he supported.’
      • ‘Europe keeps 2.3 million troops under arms - many of them poorly trained conscripts.’
  • up in arms

    • Protesting vigorously about something.

      ‘teachers are up in arms about new school tests’
      • ‘Parents and teachers are up in arms over whether a peace banner is political, and whether peace should be promoted in schools.’
      • ‘Residents in Willington are up in arms over a building development plan which, they say, will triple the size of the village.’
      • ‘Angry residents are up in arms over a proposal to site a giant mobile phone mast near their homes.’
      • ‘Angry road hauliers in Laois are up in arms about the costs associated with their businesses.’
      • ‘Residents and parents who reside on the Mountain Road are up in arms over the dangers posed by speeding traffic.’
      • ‘A lot of Christians are up in arms about this, and for once I agree with them, at least in part.’
      • ‘Portlaoise town councillors are up in arms over what they perceive as a diminution of the powers of the town council.’
      • ‘This is why many are up in arms to defend their interests, with others willing to go all the way in their call for reform and change.’
      • ‘Traders in Havefordwest's top of town are up in arms at the lack of notice given to them over the closure of Market Street to traffic.’
      • ‘The greens are up in arms against allowing construction so close to lakes.’
      • ‘Angry residents are up in arms after railway engineering works caused sleepless nights.’
      • ‘Activists are up in arms over a Bush proposal to allow nuclear reactors in spacecraft.’
      • ‘Now, the Labour Party is up in arms against a Thatcher state funeral.’
      • ‘Why aren't the liberal classes up in arms about Zimbabwe and Darfur?’
      • ‘Angry farmers are up in arms after plans to build a new livestock market were thrown out.’
      • ‘People are up in arms about Amazon being awarded a patent for their affiliates program.’
      • ‘At the other extreme, Manchester United fans are up in arms at the idea of Malcolm Glazer buying their club and running it as a business.’
      • ‘Angry residents are up in arms following new proposals to build 14 flats on a former petrol station site in Rawdon.’
      • ‘Punters who had backed the horse were, with good reason, up in arms.’
      • ‘The residents of Castledermot continue to be up in arms over plans to turn an area of the village known as The Green into a car park.’
      irate, annoyed, cross, vexed, irritated, exasperated, indignant, aggrieved, irked, piqued, displeased, provoked, galled, resentful
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French armes, from Latin arma.

Pronunciation

arms

/ɑːmz/