police state

noun

: a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Russia is an authoritarian police state, invading its neighbors, committing atrocities and threatening nuclear annihilation. WSJ, 4 Nov. 2022 In power since 2010, Orban has come to dominate and reshape Hungary’s political system not through a Soviet-style police state but rather through constitutional changes and the weakening of civil society. David Weigel And Isaac Arnsdorf, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 Economic crises are also helping to fuel dangerous political crises, including Salvadoran dictator and Bitcoin enthusiast Nayib Bukele’s ballooning police state. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 9 Sep. 2022 In power since 2010, Orban has come to dominate and reshape Hungary’s political system not through a Soviet-style police state but rather through constitutional changes and the weakening of civil society. David Weigel And Isaac Arnsdorf, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 In power since 2010, Orban has come to dominate and reshape Hungary’s political system not through a Soviet-style police state but rather through constitutional changes and the weakening of civil society. David Weigel And Isaac Arnsdorf, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 The Reformation was just behind them; the civil war was coming; Elizabeth, the virgin queen, may have been semi-celestial, but her subjects lived in a police state. James Parker, The Atlantic, 16 Aug. 2022 In power since 2010, Orban has come to dominate and reshape Hungary’s political system not through a Soviet-style police state but rather through constitutional changes and the weakening of civil society. David Weigel And Isaac Arnsdorf, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 In power since 2010, Orban has come to dominate and reshape Hungary’s political system not through a Soviet-style police state but rather through constitutional changes and the weakening of civil society. Isaac Arnsdorf, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'police state.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1851, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of police state was in 1851

Dictionary Entries Near police state

Cite this Entry

“Police state.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/police%20state. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

police state

noun

: a state in which the activities of the people are under the power of the government often acting through a secret police force
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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