Definition of dragnet in English:



  • 1A net drawn through a river or across ground to trap fish or game.

    • ‘The use of fine-mesh dragnets by fishing crews, despite a ban by the Mauritian government, has caused huge damage to the barrier reef, and the banks of living coral that protect the entire coastline are dying.’
    • ‘Fishermen still using dragnets are being urged by the Trat provincial authority to turn to tourism as an alternative profession, in the hope that this will mitigate the impact of the government's decision to ban dragnet fishery.’
    • ‘The city fishermen use the shore seine, a huge dragnet attached to a three-kilometre long rope to catch species like the small stolephorus fish.’
    • ‘Ecology Action Centre challenges the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on dragnet fishing policy.’
    • ‘Groundfish - bottom-dwellers such as cod and flounder that are harvested with giant dragnets - were especially hard hit.’
    • ‘An RSPCA dragnet of the area surrounding the pond failed to locate the beast, and the organisation warned locals to keep their eyes peeled for rogue reptiles.’
    1. 1.1A systematic search for someone or something, especially criminals or criminal activity.
      ‘many who had escaped the police dragnet retreated to a mountain hideout’
      • ‘In February 2003, hundreds of Pakistanis moved abroad when rumors of dragnets and new federal registration deadlines prompted a renewed fear of deportation.’
      • ‘The problem with this example is that many noncitizens caught up in today's dragnets aren't just five randomly chosen students coming to America for the first time.’
      • ‘To avoid the police dragnet, he did not use a mobile telephone.’
      • ‘Outside the convention, on the streets of New York, nearly 2,000 people were swept up and arrested by police in massive dragnets organized to prevent or break up political protests.’
      • ‘Police threw a dragnet around the city and caught the two thugs.’
      • ‘In the words of a national center on institutions and alternatives, this nation has ‘replaced the social safety net with a dragnet.’’
      • ‘Most citizens may not be aware of this ominous shift, but those who live within the sweeping reach of government dragnets can tell them that life is not the same in America.’
      • ‘Pedestrians were also caught in the police dragnet and interviewed by officers searching for even the smallest clue that could spark a new line of inquiry.’
      • ‘Unlike 10 years ago, there were no pitch invasions this time, but a couple of spectators managed to elude the police dragnet on the circumference of the boundary to run out to the middle to embrace their hero.’
      • ‘The anti-terror legislation has been used to conduct a police dragnet, with over 500 arrests of ‘terrorist suspects’.’
      • ‘That support, and the mountainous conditions, have helped him to elude one of the largest dragnets in history.’
      • ‘They tried to basically spread a dragnet and see how many people they can fish out.’
      • ‘He wasn't even a protester - just a city resident who went out to a deli for some matzo ball soup and innocently walked into a police dragnet that was indiscriminately scooping up hundreds of people.’
      • ‘The search was conducted more like a police dragnet than a traditional intelligence investigation.’
      • ‘When he nevertheless made a clean getaway, he made little effort to escape the massive police dragnet throughout northern Georgia.’
      • ‘Months later, the dragnet still had not turned up the poachers who had left an indelible mark on such a severely endangered species: for the Asian elephant, the loss of five animals is grave.’
      • ‘Thousands of immigrants have been swept up in draconian dragnets, and many have been denied access to counsel and family.’
      • ‘Its inclusion in the criminal code will allow for broad police dragnets and detentions.’
      • ‘But there are several potential problems with DNA dragnets, most importantly the question of what happens to the samples of the people who are cleared as suspects.’
      • ‘Many pupils struggled to get to school after buses were cancelled and huge traffic jams developed as police set up dragnets to try to catch the sniper.’