police

verb
po·​lice | \ pə-ˈlēs How to pronounce police (audio) \
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

The 1987 repeal of the fairness doctrine means television and radio broadcasters are no longer required to air conflicting views on significant public issues; balance is mostly self-policed. Isaac Stanley-becker, The Seattle Times, "Critics demand networks fact-check Trump’s live immigration speech," 8 Jan. 2019 This means social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr — which are home to a lot of pornographic material — will not be policed. James Vincent, The Verge, "UK porn law’s latest guidelines fail to answer critics," 18 Oct. 2018 Alex Jones and policing the internet And what is the responsibility of the social media companies? Eric Johnson, Recode, "There should be ‘consequences’ for platforms that don’t remove people like Alex Jones, Senator Ron Wyden says," 22 Aug. 2018 And policing content for factual accuracy could suck platforms into endless controversies over hot-button political issues. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Op-ed: Alex Jones is a crackpot—but banning him from Facebook might be a bad idea [Updated]," 6 Aug. 2018 Some American cities have predictive-policing programs akin to IJOP that analyse past crimes to predict future ones. The Economist, "Does China’s digital police state have echoes in the West?," 31 May 2018 The gaming platform Twitch, for example, is self-monitoring in a collaborative way to create a positive environment policed by the community itself. Michelle Ma, WSJ, "The Impact of Technology on Democracy," 11 Nov. 2018 The report also did not say if attendance was mandatory, though former detainees have said they were forcibly held in centers policed by armed guards. Yanan Wang, The Seattle Times, "China says interning Muslims brings them into ‘modern’ world," 16 Oct. 2018 Many nations deeply oppose having their borders policed by staff from other countries. Fox News, "EU leaders to tackle Brexit, migration failures at summit," 18 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The shooter, who police say was known to the victim prior to the incident, was arrested for the assault. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Phone Saves Man From Incoming Arrow," 15 Mar. 2019 Equipped with police, medical and legal personnel, One Stop Centers they are meant to be places where the physical, psychological and legal implications of violence against women can be addressed and support found. Caterina Clerici & Eléonore Hamelin, Marie Claire, "Rwanda's Future Is Female," 1 Feb. 2019 Ri-Ri was reportedly offered the halftime entertainer slot but turned it down to show support for Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the anthem to quietly (and peacefully) protest police brutality against the black community. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Amy Schumer Is the Latest Celeb to Boycott the Super Bowl," 21 Oct. 2018 Lenny, an old friend, pays the police commissioner a visit— but brings some bad news with him. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Reveals a Friend of Frank Reagan Is Returning and Fans Are Panicking," 15 Mar. 2019 Associated Press reporters saw multiple teachers injured, and ambulances and police cars filled the neighborhood. Amira El Masaiti, The Seattle Times, "Morocco: Arab Spring anniversary brings reflection, beatings," 20 Feb. 2019 The sound production of this film alone is worth experiencing, but its winding story of police instinct and emergency keeps viewers gripped as well. Sam Machkovech And Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Films for the discerning nerd: Ars picks the best of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 In January police in La Mesa, Calif., arrested a 39-year-old man suspected of a machete killing in 2006. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "The Making of a DNA Detective," 15 Feb. 2019 Stars are standing behind Empire star Jussie Smollett after he was hospitalized following a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago early Tuesday morning, according to Chicago police. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Hollywood Supports Jussie Smollett Following Racist and Homophobic Attack," 29 Jan. 2019

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

24 Mar 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 How to pronounce police (audio) \
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

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