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

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 idea of policing pay equity is an unusually strict approach, even among countries that have turned up pressure on firms to bridge the divide. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France Prepares to Get Tough on Firms That Pay Women Less," 18 Nov. 2018 Both YouTube and Facebook face the challenge of policing troves of content uploaded to their social networks each day. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "YouTube comes down on Alex Jones for hate speech, child endangerment content," 26 July 2018 In America, that style of policing gained attention during the St. Louis police department’s response to the 2014 Ferguson uprising, which followed the death of Mike Brown. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "How Policing in the U.S. and Security in Israel Are Connected," 16 July 2018 At odds Instead of policing who gets to use the term, feminists should focus on analyzing the policies put forth by those who claim to be feminists, said UCLA gender studies professor Juliet Williams. USA TODAY, "Can you be a conservative feminist? Experts and activists weigh in," 6 Mar. 2018 The report notes that 81 percent of D.C. schools require a uniform, and also shows that not only are black girls’ bodies policed but also their culturally relevant hairstyles and even headwraps and scarves. Angela Helm, The Root, "Black Girls Most Harshly Disciplined Over School Dress Codes, Study Finds," 29 Apr. 2018 My own reporting on that culture two months ago revealed a history of distrust between employees and a human-resources department that seemed more concerned with policing staff than protecting them. Boris Kachka, The Cut, "What WNYC Employees Really Think of This Week’s Harassment Report," 26 Apr. 2018 The General Assembly also passed a first-in-the-nation law to start policing political ads on Facebook and other social media sites. Erin Cox, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland Democrats in Congress ask Gov. Hogan to bolster election security; Hogan agrees," 9 Apr. 2018 Advocates want to shift liability rules to force technology companies to take a more active role in policing their content—a shift that could force more online providers to adopt filtering systems like YouTube's Content ID. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "An EU copyright bill could force YouTube-style filtering across the Web," 11 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In 2004 Brianne Randall filed a police report in nearby Meridian Township that went nowhere. Jason Schmidt, Glamour, "The Army of Women Who Took Down Larry Nassar," 30 Oct. 2018 The New Orleans police department, in partnership with Palantir, was using facial recognition in its predictive policing program for six years before the public knew about it. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Facial recognition is becoming one of the 21st century’s biggest public space issues," 19 Oct. 2018 About an hour later, the police arrived and told us to file out with our hands above our heads and eyes straight ahead. As Told To Beth Dreher And Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, "How to Keep Our Kids Safe in School as the Gun Debate Rages On," 25 Sep. 2018 Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that police say an officer killed the shooter. Sarah Mearhoff, Teen Vogue, "Cincinnati Shooting Leaves 4 Dead, Including Shooter," 6 Sep. 2018 On Friday, police arrested Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Florida in connection to the pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats around the country. German Lopez, Vox, "Here are seven takeaways from the pipe bomb suspect’s social media accounts.," 26 Oct. 2018 When police have asked Apple for help accessing into iPhones, Apple has sided with consumer privacy. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Apple Just Made Its Phones Impossible For Police to Hack," 25 Oct. 2018 The police and fire department are trained to help in these situations. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Christina and Tarek El Moussa Speak Out About Their 3-Year-Old Son's Scary Hospitalization," 18 Oct. 2018 If you do get pulled aside, and the officers find weed in your carry-on, their next step is to tell local police. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "LAX Lets Travelers Bring Marijuana in a Carry-On," 3 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

15 Dec 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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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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