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

In short, policing the entire Everglades for pythons will never be possible. Gena Steffens, Smithsonian, "The Snakes That Ate Florida," 11 July 2019 The fact of the matter is that Roberts, abetted by a conservative majority, is uninterested in policing the ground rules of modern democracy, and originalism is the figleaf intended to camouflage that desire. Guy-uriel E. Charles, Time, "SCOTUS's Ruling on Gerrymandering Endangers US Democracy," 11 July 2019 Because of them, the court finally and forcefully disavowed any role in policing partisan gerrymandering, a decadeslong goal of conservative justices. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Gorsuch, Kavanaugh shift the Supreme Court, but their differences are striking," 30 June 2019 The committee rarely holds discussions of crime trends or policing strategies. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, "At Chicago’s City Council, Committees Are Used to Reward Political Favors and Fund Patronage," 15 May 2019 At the same time, Cantrell has also bolstered policing efforts in the wake of high-profile violent crimes this spring involving juvenile suspects. Greg Larose, nola.com, "Cantrell, City Council could clash over juvenile justice approach," 26 June 2019 Before the vote on the proposal, some Catholics, including Francis Cesareo, the head of the USCCB's National Review Board, said the plan essentially trusts bishops to police themselves. Daniel Burke, CNN, "10 ways Catholic bishops are trying to end the clergy abuse scandal," 13 June 2019 Our government must make transparent, good-faith efforts to police itself, or risk losing legitimacy in the public’s eyes. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Lessons of the Mueller Probe," 12 June 2019 To police them, sometimes, or to offer well-meaning advice, or express an opinion. National Geographic, "Could a woman walk around the world today?," 5 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

More than a decade ago police and prosecutors stumbled across a similar pattern of conduct in Palm Beach, Florida, where Mr Epstein owns another mansion. The Economist, "Was Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal fishy?," 13 July 2019 Ostrander said the fishery also affects the city’s police and fire departments, as well as parks and recreation. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Thousands of salmon dipnetters, most from out of town, are about to hit Kenai beaches. Here’s how to be a good guest.," 13 July 2019 In 1967, rioting erupted in Newark, N.J., over the police beating of a black taxi driver; 26 people were killed in the five days of violence that followed. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 12 July 2019 Witnesses said the man, identified by police as Rayfield Mitchell, surrendered after about an hour. oregonlive.com, "Man surrenders after allegedly wielding ax, barricading self in Gresham Jack in the Box," 12 July 2019 In this latest incident, the police were nowhere to be seen. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 11 July 2019 The Indiana Department of Correction says 39-year-old Travis Hornett was apprehended without incident shortly after midnight Thursday by DOC staff and state and local police in a vacant home in Beverly Shores, Indiana. chicagotribune.com, "Inmate captured in Beverly Shores following escape from Indiana State Prison," 11 July 2019 The aunt, who had recently been granted custody of Cedric by Child Protective Services, called police on Wednesday morning to report the toddler was missing. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Texas Toddler Found Dead After Disappearing From Bed in Middle of Night, and Suspect Is Arrested," 11 July 2019 Will the liberal thought-police of Silicon Valley stop at nothing to silence conservative voices? Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Very Big, Very Important White House Social-Media Summit," 11 July 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

14 Jul 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

Comments on police

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