frisk vt: to run the hand rapidly over the outer clothing of (a suspect) for the purpose of finding concealed weapons compare search NOTE: The purpose of frisking a suspect is to insure the safety of an officer making an investigation against concealed weapons, not to uncover evidence. The officer must be justified in his or her encounter of the suspect and must have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed. The scope of the frisk must be limited to the discovery of weapons.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.