Arraigner – Definition & Meaning

The word “arraigner” is not commonly used in everyday language, but it is an important legal term that refers to the formal process of bringing someone before a court of law to answer criminal charges. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of arraigner, as well as its origins, associations, synonyms, and antonyms.


According to Merriam-Webster, an arraigner is “a person who arraigns or formally charges another with a crime.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines arraigner as “a person who arraigns another, i.e. formally accuses him or her of a crime before a court of law.”


The word “arraigner” comes from the Old French word “arraigner,” which means “to call to account.” It was first used in English in the 14th century, and its legal meaning has remained relatively unchanged since then.

Meaning in different dictionaries

In addition to the definitions provided by Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary, other dictionaries offer slightly different interpretations of the word arraigner. For example, the Collins English Dictionary defines arraigner as “a person who formally accuses someone of a crime in a court of law.” The Cambridge Dictionary describes arraigner as “a person who formally accuses someone of a crime and brings them to court to be judged.”


The term arraigner is most commonly associated with the legal system, specifically with criminal law. It is the first step in the criminal trial process, during which the defendant is formally charged with a crime and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.


There are several synonyms for the word arraigner, including accuser, prosecutor, and complainant. These terms all refer to someone who brings formal charges against another person in a court of law.


The opposite of an arraigner would be someone who defends the accused, such as a defense attorney or public defender.

The same root words

The word arraigner comes from the Old French word “arraigner,” which also gave rise to the English words “arrange” and “range.” These words are not directly related to the legal meaning of arraigner, but they share a common root.

Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences that use the word arraigner:

  • The arraigner read the charges against the defendant in a clear, firm voice.
  • The accused was arraigned in court and entered a plea of not guilty.
  • The arraigner presented a compelling case against the defendant, who was ultimately convicted of the crime.
  • The defense attorney cross-examined the arraigner, trying to poke holes in their argument.
  • The arraigner’s job is to ensure that justice is served, regardless of the defendant’s social status or background.
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