Definition of arms in English:

arms

plural noun

  • 1Weapons and ammunition; armaments.

    ‘they were subjugated by force of arms’
    [as modifier] ‘arms exports’
    • ‘The leaders of both North and South Korea wished to unite the country by force of arms.’
    • ‘What kind of war was the French army expecting and how was it intending to use its arms?’
    • ‘Now after the election we need a big campaign to stop any new expenditure on nuclear arms.’
    • ‘Shipments of gold, arms and food had been sent to the mountain region on a regular basis.’
    • ‘Eight men in total turned their arms and Kay, the last of them, filed the best return.’
    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.

    See also coat of arms
    • ‘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

  • a call to arms

    • A call to prepare for confrontation.

      ‘a call to arms to defend against a takeover’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We begin tonight with a new call to arms by President Bush on the global war on terrorists and radical Islamists.’
      • ‘There has not been bloodshed, not been a mass call to arms, among the Shia and Kurdish groups.’
      • ‘The enemy wants to make Iraqis afraid to join security forces, but every week more and more Iraqis answer 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These were the first soldiers ever to have been enlisted at the call to arms and by a United States Government.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wiltshire's military might is ready, willing and more than able to answer any call to arms if there is a war with Iraq.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Patriotism is a call to arms to defend yourself against someone else because they do not think like you.’
      • ‘The right is sounding the call to arms, while the left, as always, is offering excuses at best, and at worst, apologies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Only 130 of the 500 members of his battalion answered the call to arms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • take up arms

    • Begin fighting.

      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘He took up arms with the Earl of Mar, but after the battle of Sheriffmuir he was forced to flee the country.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The war is southern Sudan erupted in 1983 when black African rebels took up arms to fight Khartoum-based Islamic governments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many aided the Rangers, supplying carts and food, and often taking up arms to join in the fight against the Japanese.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I took up arms and fought the corrupt military and government.’
      • ‘Some of the others managed to take up arms and a battle began between those who only hours earlier had been allies.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘What it means is that we do not take up arms to attack others.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Certainly, Colombo residents Kumudini Samuel and Chandragupta Thenuwara are more likely to join an anti-war protest than to take up arms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The government estimates some 1 million Liberians have been displaced by the war, which began in 1999 when rebels took up arms against Taylor.’
      • ‘The Conventions also establish the criteria that must be met in order to qualify as a lawful combatant taking up arms for the state.’
      • ‘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.’
      fight, do battle, give battle, wage war, go to war, make war
      attack, mount an attack
      combat, engage, meet, clash, skirmish
      be a soldier, fight for king and country, fight for queen and country
      crusade
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  • under arms

    • Equipped and ready for war or battle.

      ‘the Empire now had half a million men under arms’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Europe keeps 2.3 million troops under arms - many of them poorly trained conscripts.’
      • ‘Although the country has a defence budget broadly equivalent to that of Switzerland, there are 1.35 million people under arms.’
      • ‘The ministry, with about 1 million men under arms, is the country's largest armed forces agency.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ninety members of the tribe are currently under arms, with 30 deployed in Iraq.’
      • ‘The country would have a full draft, with probably at least two million 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.’
      • ‘They have more men and women under arms than we have in the police service.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Butah Brigades have an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 men under arms.’
      • ‘The active duty Israeli Defense Force is fairly small, with only about 150,000 men and women 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.’
      • ‘Even so, by the outbreak of war in 1939 Germany had more than 4.5 million men under arms, including those in training.’
  • up in arms (about/over)

    • Protesting vigorously about something.

      ‘teachers are up in arms about new school tests’
      • ‘Angry residents are up in arms over a proposal to site a giant mobile phone mast near their homes.’
      • ‘Angry farmers are up in arms after plans to build a new livestock market were thrown out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now, the Labour Party is up in arms against a Thatcher state funeral.’
      • ‘Parents and teachers are up in arms over whether a peace banner is political, and whether peace should be promoted in schools.’
      • ‘People are up in arms about Amazon being awarded a patent for their affiliates program.’
      • ‘Punters who had backed the horse were, with good reason, up in arms.’
      • ‘Angry residents are up in arms after railway engineering works caused sleepless nights.’
      • ‘Angry road hauliers in Laois are up in arms about the costs associated with their businesses.’
      • ‘Residents in Willington are up in arms over a building development plan which, they say, will triple the size of the village.’
      • ‘Activists are up in arms over a Bush proposal to allow nuclear reactors in spacecraft.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Residents and parents who reside on the Mountain Road are up in arms over the dangers posed by speeding traffic.’
      • ‘Why aren't the liberal classes up in arms about Zimbabwe and Darfur?’
      • ‘Angry residents are up in arms following new proposals to build 14 flats on a former petrol station site in Rawdon.’
      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

/ärmz/