police

verb
po·​lice | \ pə-ˈlēs \
policed; policing

Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic : govern
2 : to control, regulate, or keep in order by use of police
3 : to make clean and put in order
4a : to supervise the operation, execution, or administration of to prevent or detect and prosecute violations of rules and regulations
b : to exercise such supervision over the policies and activities of
5 : to perform the functions of a police force in or over

police

noun, often attributive
plural police

Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the internal organization or regulation of a political unit through exercise of governmental powers especially with respect to general comfort, health, morals, safety, or prosperity
b : control and regulation of affairs affecting the general order and welfare of any unit or area
c : the system of laws for effecting such control
2a : the department of government concerned primarily with maintenance of public order, safety, and health and enforcement of laws and possessing executive, judicial, and legislative powers
b : the department of government charged with prevention, detection, and prosecution of public nuisances and crimes
b  plural : police officers
4a : a private organization resembling a police force campus police
b  plural : the members of a private police organization
5a : the action or process of cleaning and putting in order
b : military personnel detailed to perform this function
6 : one attempting to regulate or censor a specified field or activity the fashion police

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Synonyms for police

Synonyms: Noun

law

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Examples of police in a Sentence

Verb

The officers police the streets for reckless drivers. The coast is policed by the military. The international agency polices the development of atomic energy facilities.

Noun

Police arrested a man whom they identified as the murderer. the appearance of a ransom note meant that the teenager's disappearance was now a matter for the police
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Not in a parent-policing role, but in a wonderful-world sort of way. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s role in the French protests has polarized observers," 11 Dec. 2018 The Eurofighter Typhoon of the Spanish Air Force was part of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission based in Lithuania and was carrying air-to-air missiles containing up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives. Jari Tanner, Fox News, "Estonia halts NATO air drills after jet misfires missile," 9 Aug. 2018 The hashtag #NoJusticeNoPride has spread word of these events, which call for de-policing Pride, or at the very least, for cops to march out of uniform and unarmed. Devlyn Camp, Chicago Reader, "Perspective / News / LGBTQ+ Pride double standard? Bars upset after police forced some to close early after parade," 29 June 2018 The data includes Border Patrol agents who patrol between the ports of entry and officers who police border crossings. Daniel Ochoa De Olza, The Seattle Times, "Border clash marks 2nd use of tear gas in just over a month," 2 Jan. 2019 Check out just a few of the unfair criticisms for yourself, below: The fact people are policing Markle's hand placement is ludicrous, to say the least. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Is Being Mommy-Shamed and She Hasn't Even Given Birth Yet," 12 Dec. 2018 The nine-months-pregnant woman noticed a man, who police now identify as 27-year-old Anthony Smith, coming down Collins Avenue. Cameron Knight & Jessica Schmidt, Cincinnati.com, "Pregnant woman fights off an attacker in East End," 27 June 2018 In addition to supervising roughly 9,400 deputies who police unincorporated areas and 42 cities including West Hollywood, Compton and Palmdale, McDonnell also runs the nation's largest jail system. Maya Lau, latimes.com, "Sheriff McDonnell inherited a department rotted by corruption. His reform effort is a work in progress," 24 May 2018 The mother of a Phoenix woman killed in San Diego is fighting to track down her daughter's boyfriend, a former Marine, who police believe fled to Mexico and may be now be in Central America. azcentral, "Help sought in hunt for Phoenix man charged in his girlfriend's 2016 killing in San Diego," 3 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Initially wanted as an eyewitness, Cary was confronted by police in July of 1999, and ended up confessing to all four murders. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "The True Story Behind Cary Stayner's Murders and His Brother Steven's Legacy," 25 Jan. 2019 Chris Brown has been questioned by French police about an accusation of rape, according to news sources. Vogue, "Time’s Up for Chris Brown? The Singer Is Questioned by French Police on Rape Accusation," 22 Jan. 2019 The entrepreneur was found dead in his apartment early Sunday morning after a woman phoned the police with concerns about the 34-year-old. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: A Russian disinformation campaign used every major social media platform to help elect President Trump," 17 Dec. 2018 Toney died at a hospital from his wounds, police said. Fox News, "Chief: Officer kills man accused of killing Georgia officer," 23 Oct. 2018 On the day of the murder, Mr. Jackson, of Maryland, was caught on surveillance video wearing a long black jacket looking for targets in Manhattan, police have said. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "White Supremacist Pleads Guilty to 2017 Sword Slay of Black Man," 23 Jan. 2019 The death was ruled accidental by the Los Angeles police and coroner. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 This comfortably places the Riverdale police into Hiram's back pocket, allowing him to frame Archie for murder. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Comprehensive List of All of Hiram Lodge's Schemes on "Riverdale"," 13 Dec. 2018 That self-driving car’s automatic emergency brakes were disabled; police later said the safety driver at the wheel was streaming The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Riding in Waymo One, the Google spinoff’s first self-driving taxi service," 5 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'police.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of police

Verb

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for police

Verb

in sense 1, from Middle French policier, from police conduct of public affairs; in other senses, from police entry 2

Noun

French, from Old French, from Late Latin politia government, administration, from Greek politeia, from politēs citizen, from polis city, state; akin to Sanskrit pur rampart, Lithuanian pilis castle

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Statistics for police

Last Updated

10 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for police

The first known use of police was in 1589

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More Definitions for police

police

verb

English Language Learners Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to control and keep order in (an area) by the use of police or military forces
: to control (something) by making sure that rules and regulations are being followed

police

noun

English Language Learners Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

: the people or the department of people who enforce laws, investigate crimes, and make arrests

police

verb
po·​lice | \ pə-ˈlēs \
policed; policing

Kids Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to keep order in or among Officers police the city.

police

noun
plural police

Kids Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the department of government that keeps order and enforces law, investigates crimes, and makes arrests
2 police plural : members of a police force
po·​lice
policed; policing

Legal Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to control, regulate, or keep in order especially as an official duty police the area

police

noun
plural police

Legal Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the control and regulation of affairs affecting the order and welfare of a political unit and its citizens
2a : the department of a government or other institution that maintains order and safety and enforces laws
c  plural : the members of a police force

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More from Merriam-Webster on police

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with police

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for police

Spanish Central: Translation of police

Nglish: Translation of police for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of police for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about police

Comments on police

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