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 department grasps the role of policing in the current political and social climate, doing its best to bolster relationships, particularly in the black, immigrant and marginalized communities that have been historically oppressed, Moore said. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "‘He’s just a doer’: Meet Seattle police-chief candidate Ely Reyes," 9 July 2018 The state water board, which referees California's complicated water-rights system, also is in charge of policing the quality of the water that goes through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — the ailing hub of the state's water delivery system. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers," 6 July 2018 Any attempt at understanding the effects of policing in black America must begin from a rational, objective perspective. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Unprotected, Underserved: The (False) Criminalization of Black America," 25 June 2018 For another, end users frequenting local bars and restaurants shouldn’t be put in the position of policing the copyrights of sports leagues, particularly with an app that uses processed audio from their omnipresent phone. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "This app in Google Play wants to use phone mics to enforce copyrights," 12 June 2018 At least three of the seven members of the Independent Review Board had recently applied, unsuccessfully, to serve on the team monitoring the city’s implementation of policing reforms under its consent decree with the Justice Department. Kevin Rector, baltimoresun.com, "Independent panel to study Baltimore Police Det. Suiter killing includes policing experts, retired detectives," 12 Apr. 2018 Or maybe to retain the more appealing aspects of that power while offloading the trickier responsibilities of policing political speech to stakeholders. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Mark Zuckerberg is retreating from content moderation," 3 Apr. 2018 The job of policing Reddit’s most pernicious content falls primarily to three groups of employees—the community team, the trust-and-safety team, and the anti-evil team—which are sometimes described, respectively, as good cop, bad cop, and RoboCop. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet," 12 Mar. 2018 The relationship between noise laws and the police reach another level of conflict that speaks to the fundamental problem of policing the sounds made by individuals. Kate Wagner, The Atlantic, "City Noise Might Be Making You Sick," 20 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The boy died at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, police said. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Coroner identifies teen killed in east-side shooting," 13 July 2018 The investigation is in the preliminary stage, police said, but investigators believed all involved parties were accounted for and that there were no outstanding suspects. Brittny Mejia, latimes.com, "Three people found dead in Redondo Beach residence after report of shooting," 12 July 2018 The investigation is ongoing and police said no interviews concerning the arrests will be granted. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Stormy Daniels Charges Have Been Dismissed, Attorney Says," 12 July 2018 In the city of Sacramento, there were five official hate crimes in 2017 — though police said there were many more documented incidents that didn't rise to the level of chargeable offenses. Anita Chabria And Michael Finch Ii, sacbee, "Hate crimes in Sacramento County have increased by 66 percent since 2014," 12 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

8 Sep 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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