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Arrest vs. Apprehend: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on November 30, 2023
"Arrest" is the act of legally detaining someone, while "apprehend" means to capture or understand someone or something.

Key Differences

"Arrest" typically refers to the legal action where police or authorities detain a person suspected of a crime. It involves a formal process under the law. In contrast, "apprehend" can mean to physically capture someone, especially in the context of crime, but it also means to understand or grasp an idea.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
When a person is "arrested," they are taken into custody with legal authority, often as a precursor to charges or legal action. "Apprehend" in the context of law enforcement is similar to arrest but can also refer more generally to the act of stopping or capturing someone, without the immediate implication of legal processing.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
The term "arrest" is specifically associated with legal and formal procedures, including reading rights and booking processes. "Apprehend" does not inherently carry these legal connotations, although it is often used in law enforcement.
Huma Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
"Arrest" can also be used in non-legal contexts to mean stopping or hindering progress, such as "the arrest of disease progression." Conversely, "apprehend" in its other meaning refers to the mental grasp or understanding of information or concepts.
Harlon Moss
Nov 29, 2023
The use of "arrest" is often more formal and specific, while "apprehend" is more versatile, applying to both physical capture and mental understanding.
Harlon Moss
Nov 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Legal detention of a person
Capture or understanding of someone/something
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Context

Legal, law enforcement
Law enforcement, general understanding
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Legal Connotations

Strong, involves formal legal processes
Can imply capture, less formal legal process
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Non-Legal Usage

Stopping/hindering progress
Mental grasp or understanding
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Formality

More formal and specific
More versatile and broader in use
Janet White
Nov 29, 2023
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Arrest and Apprehend Definitions

Arrest

Hindering Movement.
The obstacle arrest the flow of traffic.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 29, 2023

Apprehend

Capture a Suspect.
Officers apprehend the fugitive after a chase.
Huma Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Arrest

Stopping Progress.
The medication can arrest the disease's progression.
Janet White
Nov 29, 2023

Apprehend

Grasp Mentally.
Children can apprehend new languages easily.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Arrest

Legal Detention.
The police made an arrest for the robbery.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Apprehend

Anticipate with Fear.
He apprehend the outcome of the meeting.
Janet White
Nov 29, 2023

Arrest

Formal Capture.
The suspect was arrest at his home.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Apprehend

Understand a Concept.
She quickly apprehend the complex theory.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 29, 2023

Arrest

Preventative Action.
Security measures arrest unauthorized access.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 29, 2023

Apprehend

Seize Physically.
The guard apprehend the intruder.
Janet White
Nov 29, 2023

Arrest

To stop; check
A brake that automatically arrests motion.
Arrested the growth of the tumor.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 28, 2023

Apprehend

To take into custody; arrest
Apprehended the murderer.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 28, 2023

Arrest

To seize and hold under the authority of law.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 28, 2023

Apprehend

To grasp mentally; understand
"Science is the systematic method by which we apprehend what is true about the real world in which we live" (Richard Dawkins).
Sumera Saeed
Feb 28, 2023

FAQs

What does "arrest" mean?

"Arrest" typically refers to the act of legally detaining someone, usually by the police, on suspicion of a crime.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "arrest" be used in a non-legal context?

Yes, metaphorically, "arrest" can describe something that captures attention or stops a process, like "an arresting image."
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "arrest" only used for serious crimes?

No, "arrest" can be used for any crime, regardless of its severity, where legal custody is required.
Janet White
Nov 30, 2023

Is "apprehend" the same as "arrest"?

"Apprehend" can mean to arrest, but it also has a broader sense of understanding or becoming aware of something.
Huma Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "apprehend" mean understanding something intellectually?

Yes, in a non-legal context, "apprehend" often means to understand or grasp the meaning of something.
Janet White
Nov 30, 2023

Can "arrest" refer to stopping a process?

Yes, it can metaphorically mean stopping or hindering a process, like "arresting the progress."
Harlon Moss
Nov 30, 2023

Is "apprehend" used in everyday language?

Less commonly than "arrest," and usually in the context of understanding or perceiving something.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 30, 2023

What does "apprehend" imply in law enforcement?

In law enforcement, "apprehend" means to capture or arrest someone, usually a suspect or criminal.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

What does "under arrest" mean?

"Under arrest" means being in police custody, usually with legal rights like the right to an attorney.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

What is a synonym for "arrest"?

"Detain" is a common synonym, especially in legal contexts.
Janet White
Nov 30, 2023

Can "apprehend" be used in a positive context?

Yes, when it relates to understanding or learning something, it can be positive.
Janet White
Nov 30, 2023

Can "arrest" have medical meanings?

Yes, such as "cardiac arrest," where it means a sudden stop in function.
Harlon Moss
Nov 30, 2023

What part of speech is "arrest"?

It can be both a verb ("to arrest someone") and a noun ("an arrest was made").
Harlon Moss
Nov 30, 2023

Does "apprehend" have a physical connotation?

In law enforcement, it does, implying the physical act of capturing or detaining someone.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

What is the difference in urgency between "arrest" and "apprehend"?

"Arrest" often implies a more immediate and formal action, whereas "apprehend" can be seen as a broader term, sometimes less urgent.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Does "arrest" always involve law enforcement?

Typically, yes, especially in its primary usage of detaining a suspect.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "apprehend" commonly used in police reports?

Yes, especially when describing the process of capturing a suspect.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 30, 2023

Can "arrest" be a noun?

Yes, it can be a noun, as in "the arrest of a suspect."
Harlon Moss
Nov 30, 2023

Is "apprehend" used in legal documents?

Yes, but it's more common in narrative descriptions than in formal legal terminology.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

How is "apprehend" used in criminal justice?

It's used to describe the action of law enforcement in capturing or detaining a suspect.
Harlon Moss
Nov 30, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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