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[Anglo-French arrainer, from Old French araisnier to address, call to account, from a-, prefix stressing goal of an action + raisnier to speak]
: to bring (a defendant) before a judge or magistrate to hear the charges and to plead usually either guilty or not guilty compare indict NOTE: For a person to be formally arraigned, he or she must be called by name before a judge or magistrate. The judge or magistrate makes sure that the defendant is the person named in the complaint, indictment, or information, which is then read to formally notify the defendant of the charges. The defendant may then enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or another plea allowed by law such as nolo contendere. In some cases, as when the defendant is not yet represented by a lawyer, the judge or magistrate may enter a plea of not guilty on the defendant's behalf.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.