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
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 belief that YouTube suppresses radical views has become widespread among right-wingers and conspiracy theorists on YouTube, in part because YouTube’s standards for policing their content are quite opaque. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Conspiracy theorist vlogger arraigned for death threats to YouTube employees," 27 Sep. 2018 The three-judge panel from the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision blocking the Justice Department from adding new conditions on policing grants that had required some cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Tal Kopan, CNN, "Trump and Sessions lose another sanctuary cities case," 19 Apr. 2018 The Posse Comitatus Act, which passed after the Civil War to keep federal troops from policing the South, limits federal troops’ deployment on U.S. soil and forbids using them to enforce domestic laws. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Federal law limits Trump's proposal to send troops to guard border," 3 Apr. 2018 Conwell has said that requirement should be met before the city makes any future agreement on policing with an institution. Robert Higgs, cleveland.com, "Cleveland City Council urges stronger training, oversight of special police departments," 26 Mar. 2018 The conviction shows the aggressive nature of the U.S. in policing the FCPA and bribery conduct that happens within the U.S., said John Nowak, a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings LLP. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "Former Hong Kong Minister Convicted in Bribery Scheme," 5 Dec. 2018 Experts in policing were critical of the trooper’s actions. Jan Hefler, Philly.com, "A roadside strip search in N.J. draws protest and legal action. How far can an officer go?," 6 Apr. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The [police] departments weren’t being transparent. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "Stevante Clark is Running for Mayor of Sacramento," 3 Jan. 2019 Earlier this month, police in Roseville, California—just outside Sacramento—arrested suspects Juwan Potter, 20, Melvin Barlow, 21, and Quincy Carter Jr., 21, according to CBS Sacramento. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "California Apple Store robbery gang stole over $1M in goods, cops say," 28 Sep. 2018 But despite his security cameras catching the thief red-handed, he was told by police that the crime wasn’t worth their time to investigate. Jon Porter, The Verge, "YouTuber builds glitter bomb that farts on unsuspecting package thieves," 18 Dec. 2018 And according to Buzzfeed, there have been at least two protests in the city criticizing Headley’s treatment by police. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Video of police ripping a black child from his mom has sparked debate over NYPD practices," 11 Dec. 2018 Take it from these two Canadian tourists, who were fined €450 ($507) each in August for swimming in a fountain mere hours after their first attempt was stifled by police. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Rome Cracking Down on Street Drinking, Bad Tourist Behavior With New Laws," 28 Nov. 2018 Or when Chikesia Clemons was arrested after being assaulted by police inside an Alabama Waffle House. Zoey Grossman; Fashion Editor: Cassie Anderson, Harper's BAZAAR, "Uzo Aduba, Katie Holmes & Ieshia Evans Reenact Iconic Images of Social Change," 20 Nov. 2018 This is for all survivors whose cases were not investigated or prosecuted by police. Glamour, "Aly Raisman: We Are a Group That Fought Until an Abuser Was Stopped," 12 Nov. 2018 In April, the Virginia Supreme Court reopened a 2016 case concerning data pulled from LPRs by police, the Washington Post reported earlier this year. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "That Radar Speed Road Sign Might Be Saving Your License Plate for Later," 1 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

13 Jan 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 \
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

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