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

But growing up in a different generation is hardly an excuse for policing women’s clothing choices and perpetuating the idea that men can’t help themselves. Emily Farra, Vogue, "It’s 2019—Why Are We Still Debating the Appropriateness of Leggings?," 29 Mar. 2019 Gaming platforms where the players are mostly children might be policed as well. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel hopes to clean up toxic speech in game chat with AI and machine learning," 20 Mar. 2019 Thursday's post is the latest evidence that Google can't proactively police its own market for apps that pose a serious security threat, though in fairness the company is very quick to remove titles once they're reported. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "22 apps with 2 million+ Google Play downloads had a malicious backdoor," 6 Dec. 2018 Bras aren’t only vehicles for modesty or policing women’s bodies. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Why You Don't Have to Wear a Bra," 30 Nov. 2018 Wyden’s draft proposal, called the Consumer Data Protection Act, would give the FTC more authority and resources to police the use of data by adding a total of 175 new staff. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Sen. Ron Wyden proposes bill that could jail executives who mishandle consumer data," 1 Nov. 2018 Cardi B has reportedly turned herself in to police after allegations emerged she was involved in a strip club brawl. Zoë Weiner, Glamour, "Cardi B Reportedly Just Turned Herself In to the Police," 1 Oct. 2018 Anthony Helsinki, 34, surrendered to police five days after witnesses at the Mall at Rockingham Park in New Hampshire recorded video of a man encouraging a girl to hand out toys while inside a KeyMaster game, New England Cable News reported. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "Teacher accused of putting kid in game machine to steal prizes turns self in, placed on leave," 21 Sep. 2018 Sessions said that the mere fact that a foreign nation may struggle to police certain crimes, such as domestic violence or gang violence, or that certain populations are more likely to be victims, cannot by itself establish an asylum claim. Jeff Gammage, Philly.com, "In Sessions' asylum ruling, a court system unlike others," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of us are far from being the authority on haute couture, but that isn't stopping the Internet from playing fashion police. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "The Best Memes From the 2019 Met Gala," 6 May 2019 After the murder, the couple took a taxi back to Godejohn's motel, and later traveled to Godejohn's family's house in Wisconsin, where they were arrested days later when police raided the home. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Is Nicholas Godejohn? Gypsy Blanchard's Boyfriend Plays a Key Role in The Act," 2 May 2019 Because the Federal Government considers this a National Special Security Event, the Secret Service, F.B.I., and FEMA are deployed alongside local and state police to keep everyone safe. Dan Dubno, Popular Mechanics, "How We'll Stop Chemical Attacks," 28 Apr. 2019 Bartle’s attorney Jerome O’Neill said Monday that his client’s experiences prompted Burlington police to look into the training practices. Wilson Ring, The Seattle Times, "Officer sues Vermont Police Academy over head injuries," 7 Jan. 2019 People accused the Chinese police of botching the investigation, insisting that Sun Wei's prominent family connections influenced her release. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study brings us one step closer to solving 1994 thallium poisoning case," 25 Dec. 2018 According to reporting from The Guardian, there have been no injuries to police and over 1,000 arrests during Extinction Rebellion protests in London. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Extinction Rebellion Climate Activists Glued Themselves to the Universal Studios Globe in Los Angeles," 23 Apr. 2019 Finally, in 2005, a woman reported to Florida police that a wealthy man had molested her stepdaughter, according to the Daily Beast. Jane Coaston, Vox, "Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained," 22 Feb. 2019 The foundation helps to facilitate donations from the community on behalf of the city’s police and fire departments. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Michigan fire department receives hundreds of donated pet oxygen masks," 2 Oct. 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

19 May 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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