police power


Definition of police power

: the inherent power of a government to exercise reasonable control over persons and property within its jurisdiction in the interest of the general security, health, safety, morals, and welfare except where legally prohibited

First Known Use of police power

1821, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About police power

Time Traveler for police power

Time Traveler

The first known use of police power was in 1821

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near police power

police officer

police power

police procedural

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for police power

Cite this Entry

“Police power.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/police%20power. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for police power

police power

Legal Definition of police power

— see power sense 2a

More from Merriam-Webster on police power

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about police power


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!