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

3a : police force

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

constabulary, force, heat [slang], police force

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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 Washington Post over the weekend reported that Twitter had more than doubled the pace of its bot-policing efforts since October 2017, axing 70 million accounts in May and June and keeping up that rate in July. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Twitter’s wiping tens of millions of accounts from its platform," 11 July 2018 Community policing units of this era were increasingly isolated and drained of resources. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 Sherley Bledsoe is a 32-year veteran who serves as the 12 Precinct's community policing sergeant. Brandon Patterson, Detroit Free Press, "How these 20 women are protecting Detroiters every day," 23 May 2018 Having a more diverse group of directors could also add perspective to discussions of transit policing strategies, which could help prevent any unfair targeting of minorities. John Greenfield, Chicago Reader, "Transit boards overwhelmingly male, whiter than ridership," 22 May 2018 But a modern day policing agency has to be able to respond to everything. Jenna Carlesso, Courant Community, "Hartford Police Unit Formed To Crack Down On Quality Of Life Issues," 16 May 2018 The head of Europol, Europe’s policing agency, has estimated that 3-4% of the region’s criminal proceeds are now laundered through crypto-assets. The Economist, "How to regulate crypto," 26 Apr. 2018 Cameron Winklevoss said that policing markets should be required as the industry matures. Bloomberg.com, "Mario Draghi Answers Questions at ECB News Conference," 26 Apr. 2018 Cameron Winklevoss said that policing markets should be required as the industry matures. Fortune, "Winklevoss Twins Hire Nasdaq to Keep Cheaters Off Cryptocurrency Market," 25 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ahead of his return, police swept through Lahore, arresting scores of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport. Fox News, "The Latest: Bomb explodes near Pakistan pol's election rally," 13 July 2018 Miami-Dade police have not released any details as of Friday morning. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "A car crashed into a tree. When cops arrived, they found the bullet holes.," 13 July 2018 According to the police officers’ narrative, Puscian recalled meeting Conley while riding in the hotel elevator. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Gareon Conley Legally Prove That Rape Allegation Caused Draft Slide, Financial Harm?," 12 July 2018 Following a five-day police investigation, neither was the suspect. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "They went to see ‘The First Purge.’ He stabbed a man over a reserved seat, Texas cops say," 12 July 2018 Rose was able to wrestle the gun away before calling 911, police say. Cincinnati.com, "Two men injured after Friday night shooting in Pendleton County, police say," 14 July 2018 The shots were fired by someone in a four-door, dark-colored sedan going northbound on State Street, police said. Staff Report, Aurora Beacon-News, "Home hit by gunfire in Aurora," 14 July 2018 Officers were initially dispatched to Arctic after reports that a man was brandishing a weapon and pointing it at people, police said. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Police deploy gas in Midtown standoff before arresting armed man," 13 July 2018 Bryant Lamont Adams, 27, and Rashemee Ia Lee, 39, were charged in that incident, police said. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "Two charged in second drug bust in Brooklyn Park in two days," 13 July 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

6 Oct 2018

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

b : police force

c  plural : the members of a police force

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Comments on police

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