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, finest, force, fuzz, heat [slang], man, 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

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 In the years since Mike Brown’s shooting in Ferguson sparked a national discussion about racial disparities in policing, there have been countless examples of the reasons black communities often struggle to trust law enforcement. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Why people are angry over a Washington Post fact check about police shootings," 31 Aug. 2018 Lawmakers also asked about the companies' roles in policing how app makers collect and share information taken from smartphones. Washington Post, latimes.com, "Lawmakers press Apple and Google on how they track and listen to smartphone users," 9 July 2018 But now, under pressure to clean up its service, the social network is taking a more active role in policing shoddy businesses that use its service. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Retailers Beware: Facebook Will Ban Your Ads If You're 'Bad'," 12 June 2018 The episodes shed light on the A.T.F.’s delicate role in policing the gun industry, which has historically resisted regulation and holds powerful political sway over the A.T.F.’s appropriators in Congress. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "When Guns Are Sold Illegally, A.T.F. Is Lenient on Punishment," 3 June 2018 The episodes shed light on the ATF’s delicate role in policing the gun industry, which has historically resisted regulation and holds powerful political sway over the bureau’s appropriators in Congress. Ali Watkins, BostonGlobe.com, "When guns sold illegally, ATF often lenient on punishment," 3 June 2018 Tasers, also known as stun guns, were hailed as an innovation in policing when they were introduced to police departments around the country in the early 2000s. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Police Tasers: How do they work? What are the risks?," 23 May 2018 Last month, Axon, manufacturer of the Taser, announced an ethics board of external experts to review ideas such as using AI in policing products like body cameras. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Tech Firms Move to Put Ethical Guard Rails Around AI," 16 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The following items were taken from area police department reports and releases. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Police blotter: Burr Ridge officers follow suspects in eight car burglaries onto I-55 before losing them," 14 July 2018 However, the police department only accepted the board’s findings in four cases. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Panel reviewing police civilian oversight calls for more powerful 'independent police accountability agency'," 13 July 2018 In November, the Georgia Supreme Court found that prosecutors failed to give the defense a police report describing an incident several hours after the men were arrested. BostonGlobe.com, "Ex-soldiers won’t be retried in 1992 Ga. killing," 13 July 2018 These devices can be very expensive and not something many police departments could afford. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Innovative project harnesses Legos and smartphones in the fight against invisible, deadly weapons," 13 July 2018 The police department is providing services and support to the parents of the toddler. CBS News, "Baby dead after being left in hot car in south Florida, police say," 13 July 2018 His first few days in the police department’s top post coincides with the start of President Dale Whittaker’s era at UCF last week. Annie Martin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "New UCF police chief talks about preventing shootings, sex crimes," 13 July 2018 Proceeds from the festival have helped pay for a donation of teddy bears to the local police department to comfort children and for an annual Easter egg hunt, court records state. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Whiting's Pierogi Fest settles with East Coast event in trademark dispute," 13 July 2018 But the police department could also use some of that money. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "News / Politics / Poverty / Race Father Pfleger, top cop Johnson, and a tinge of hope for the city’s future," 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

17 Nov 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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