Definition of right of search in US English:

right of search


  • The right of a ship of a belligerent state to stop and search a neutral merchant vessel for prohibited goods.

    • ‘The northern powers (Russia, Prussia, Denmark, and Sweden) formed a league of armed neutrality to resist the British right of search at sea.’
    • ‘In January 1801 a maritime convention in St Petersburg attempted to resolve the problems but the right of search continued to cause difficulties for many years.’
    • ‘Yet during international tensions over the Eastern question in 1840, and over the British right of search of French merchant ships in 1842, any association with a British cause seemed unpatriotic.’